The Old Heraldry in Ireland

Heraldry is a common tradition that was passed on for centuries in Europe. Places like Germany, Ireland and England featured coats of arms and shields with symbols like animals, weapons, shapes and plants. Each of these has their own representations and stood for a clan or nobleman.

In Ireland, heraldry portrayed new representations, such as the Tree of Life, the snake that meant good health and the fish that represented being wise. There are several other popular images shown on coats of arms and shields. Many of these show animals like wolves, stags and horses. There are also others that feature nature, flowers or the sea.

Old practice usually referred to the oak tree as a source of good health or vitality. There are coats of arms that showcase the back of an oak tree, to stand for long life. The oak tree was inaugurated by ancient elders and priests. There are also certain places throughout Ireland that look back on the practice of inaugurating oak trees.

To inaugurate is to bear deep into the soil. The ancient druids usually did the same. Now, there are even machines called augurs that still perform the same task of burrowing deep into the earth. Some crest flags still feature serpents and trees. Augsburg is a German place that got its name from the same practice of bearing into the soil. Through the centuries, the symbols remained the same on coats of arms and shields and families continued to pass these on to the next generation.

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