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Walsh of Castlehale

Image Contributed by Jeff Walsh of Kingston, Ontario, Canada


Some have asked about the meaning of the red chevron, the upright spearheads (pheons) or arrowpoints, and the swan pierced with an arrow. Although meanings may vary, here are some of the more common explanations from heraldry:
  • The chevron symbolizes 'protection,' as in a builder of a castle or one who has accomplished some work of faithful service.
  • The gules, or red, color of the chevron may represent military fortitude and magnanimity.
  • The pheon, or arrowhead, often symbolizes 'readiness for battle,' dexterity and a nimble wit.
  • The three pheons might represent the Holy Trinity, a symbol for the Catholic faith.
  • The swan may symbolize 'poetic harmony and learning.' Qualities might include grace, sincerity and perfection.
  • The arrow through the swan appears to relate to the Walsh motto which translates into "transfixed (pierced) but not dead," representing perhaps ferocity in battle, or some sort of affliction.

    The arms above were used by the family of Walsh of Castlehale, County Kilkenny. Specific individuals who used or registered this design included:
  • Edmund Walsh, lord of Castlehoel, died c. 1443. The Arms are displayed on his tomb stone at Jerpoint Abbey in county Kilkenny.
  • Walter Walsh, Esq., lord of Castlehoel, died 1619. The Arms were likely used by his ancestors, including the above Edmund.
  • Sir Edmond Walsh, knighted by the Lord Deputy of Ireland on June 1, 1606.
  • Sir Nicholas Walsh, Lord Chief Justice of Common Pleas, died April 12, 1615. Entered at the Ulster's Office.
  • Walter Walsh, Dean of Kildare, died April 6, 1621. Entered at the Ulster's Office.
  • Honora Walsh, daughter of Walter (1619), wife of James Butler of Knocklofty. Coat of Arms registered at the Ulsters Office circa 1630.
  • Nicholas Walsh, of the Island of Teneriffe, descended from Henry Walsh of Waterford. Registered by Hawkins, Ulster's Office, 1732.
  • Philip Walsh, of St. Malo, France, descended from Walter Walsh (1619). Arms allowed and pedigree registered by Hawkins, Ulster's Office, 1750.

    An early reference to these arms appears in Owen's list of ancient arms [Nicholas Owen, British Remains, London, 1777]. The arms he attributes to "Cadogan of Bachan" [Wales] are precisely those borne for centuries by the Walshs of Castle Howell (Hale) in Kilkenny, namely, "Argent, a chevron gules between three pheons erect." Read more about Walsh Coat of Arms - Origins in Wales?

    The preceding article was compiled by Dennis J. Walsh, 2009


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