Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Ecclesiastical Heraldry in the Archdiocese of Tuam (19th and 20th Century)

This article first appeared in the Joutrnal of the Old Tuam Society (JOTS) 2015.

The question was recently posed by David Burke in the Tuam Herald of 21 February 2013 whether there was a coat of arms for the Catholic Archdiocese of Tuam. Over the past two hundred years the Roman Catholic Archbishops of Tuam have used arms. Since the Cathedral of the Assumption was built, the best known local instance of such heraldry to generations of Tuam people must certainly be those arms, of the long-serving Archbishop John MacHale (from 1834-81) that are displayed over the west doorway and date from August 1836. It is now two hundred years since the Episcopal ordination of Dr Oliver Kelly as Archbishop of Tuam in 1815. He had been Vicar Capitular of the archdiocese for six years following the death of his predecessor, Archbishop Dillon in 1809. The arms used by Archbishop Dillon and those who succeeded him are examined in response to the question above. Of these ten archbishops, four have used the arms of the archdiocese only, while the remaining six impaled their arms.

When the arms of a diocesan bishop are impaled, the arms of the diocese are displayed on the dexter side (left to the viewer) while the personal arms of the bishop are carried on the sinister side (right to the viewer). The reader could correctly point out that ‘sinister’ translates as ‘left’, this refers to the holder of the shield, so what is ‘left’ to the bearer of the shield would be ‘right to the viewer’. The present Archbishop, Dr Michael Neary impales the arms of Tuam (the version with the cross and broken wheel) along with his personal arms. Bishop Patrick Rooke, the present Church of Ireland Bishop of the United Dioceses of Tuam, Killala and Achonry uses the arms of Tuam (the version bearing three figures under three canopies) along with the arms of Killala/Achonry (the open book and crozier), representing the two Cathedrals namely St Mary's in Tuam and St Patrick's in Killala. These latter arms were confirmed in 2012.

Fig. 1: The impaled arms of Tuam (1) and of Killala & Achonry as used by Bishop Patrick Rooke
Photo. courtesy of Bishop Rooke

Fig. 2: The impaled arms of Tuam (3)and Neary for Archbishop Michael Neary
Photo. courtesy of the Archdiocese of Tuam

Attention is drawn to the two nineteenth-century Church of Ireland Archbishops of Tuam. There was a change in the metropolitan status of the Church of Ireland Archdiocese of Tuam when the archdiocese merged with the dioceses of Killala and Achonry to became the United Dioceses of Tuam, Killala and Achonry in the Archdiocese of Armagh. This change came into effect on the death of Archbishop Power Le Poer Trench in 1839. His predecessor was Archbishop William Beresford. The arms of both these archbishops are depicted on stained-glass windows at St Mary's Cathedral and their heraldry was detailed in JOTS (Bellew 2010, 70-75). The heraldry associated with the Cathedral of the Assumption was also detailed in JOTS (Bellew 2009, 8-13). Returning to the above question, the article now focuses on the ecclesiastical heraldry associated with the Roman Catholic archdiocese and archbishops.   

The Arms of Tuam (Version 1)

The use of arms for Irish dioceses was well established by the early 1700s. James Terry was Athlone Pursuivant (a junior officer of arms in Ireland) at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the court of James II, during the latter's exile. The roll of arms compiled by Terry illustrates the arms for Irish dioceses with entitlements of Catholic bishops. These are depicted with pontifical hats and double-traversed crosses (McCarthy c. 2003, pp. 23-29). The same arms were generally used in both denominations. In the case of Tuam, the depictions of the arms in both cathedrals are similar.

These arms contain three standing figures; on the dexter side (viewer's left) is a mitred bishop (abbot) with his dexter hand giving benediction and his sinister (viewer's right) hand holding a crozier; on the centre is the Blessed Virgin with the Christ child in her arms; on the sinister is St John holding his dexter hand upwards, and in his sinister a lamb. All three figures are wearing vestments and all three are beneath Gothic canopies (Burke 1884, p. 1034).

Fig. 3: Tuam: The arms of Tuam (1) at the Cathedral of the Assumption

Fig.4: Tuam: The arms of Tuam (1) at St Mary's Cathedral

Some confusion seems to have arisen as St John is often shown with wings as is the case in both cathedrals. This confusion may rest with some earlier sources such as Ware (1739, p. 601) where the figure in question is stated to be 'an Angel, having his right Hand elevated, and a Lamb on his left Arm'. Vinycomb and Garstin (1897, p. 110) note that it is St John the Baptist who is on the sinister side. They also refer to the drawing in Ulster’s office (now the Chief Herald’s office) where St John is shown on the arms without wings. Some of the sources are not clear as to the identity of the figure with the mitre. Vinycomb and Garstin have a question mark on St Jarlath while Papworth (1874, p. 955) notes that the figure is 'S. Hierlatius' (St Jarlath). The depiction of these arms on a stained-glass window in the chapel at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth serves to illustrate how further confusion can arise where St John (without wings) is depicted on the dexter side and the bishop on the sinister side. These arms denoted as Tuam (Version 1) were borne by the Roman Catholic Archbishops of Tuam during the nineteenth century. They still continue to be used by Church of Ireland bishops as shown on Bishop Rooke's arms.

In a forthcoming article Ruairí Ó hAodha notes the dedication of the Church of St John the Baptist at Tuam in the year 1140. This clarification of St John the Baptist is important in the context of the arms of Tuam. Claffey (2009, p. 3) notes the establishment of the house for the Augustinian canons known as St John's Priory, under the patronage of Toirdelbach Ó Conchobair. His reference to the Synod of Tuam and related events in 1172 from the Annals of Tigernach could well indeed explain the presence of St Jarlath, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St John the Baptist on the arms. The Synod was the occasion on which the archbishop consecrated no fewer than three churches, all of which may have been in Tuam itself. Claffey has suggested that these were St Mary's Cathedral rebuilt about 1152, the Priory Church of St John the Baptist and thirdly the church of the relics of St Jarlath known as Templenascreen.
The Arms of Tuam (Version 2)

In the Roman Catholic tradition two subsequent versions of the diocesan arms were devised in the twentieth century. The arms denoted as Tuam (Version 2) depict a bishop (St Jarlath) in full pontificals. These arms were used by the first two twentieth-century archbishops. A seal of Archbishop Felix O'Ruadan in Harris's edition of Ware (1739, p. 601) may point to the origin of these arms. The engraving of Archbishop O'Ruadan's seal is inscribed 'SIG: FÆL. O RUADAN. ARCHIEP: TUAM. 1202. It has been remarked that this seems to be an implausibly early date on a seal and the Arabic numerals would be unusual.           

Fig. 5: Maynooth: The arms of Tuam (1) at St Patrick's College

Fig. 6: The seal of Archbishop O'Ruadan from Ware's History (1739)

The Arms of Tuam (Version 3)

The modern version of the diocesan arms, Tuam (Version 3) bears a Latin cross surmounted  in the base by a broken chariot wheel. The broken wheel is a reminder of the providential ‘breakdown’ of St Jarlath’s chariot on his journey through Tuam. The Book of Lismore provides a dialogue between St Jarlath and St Brendan who interpreted a dream for him to build a community wherever the chariot broke down (Claffey 1986, p. 5). It may be asked whether the arms of the Irish dioceses can be used today by bishops of either denomination. Since most of the arms originated after the Reformation, their use by Catholic bishops cannot be seen as a resumption of an earlier right. There is an opinion that their legal existence was terminated at the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland. However it may be argued that when a bishop of either denomination receives an exemplification of his arms impaled by the diocesan coat, the latter are thereby revived (Crotty 2000, pp. 6-8). 

Fig. 7: Castlebar: The arms of Tuam (2) at the Church of the Holy Rosary

Fig. 8: The arms of  Tuam (3) used by Archbishop Joseph Cunnane

Photo. courtesy of the Archdiocese of Tuam

Achievement of arms

The achievement of arms of a Roman Catholic bishop includes the galero (priestly hat). In ecclesiastical heraldry the mitre was used instead of the secular helmet and crest. However the galero in turn gradually replaced the mitre in Roman Catholic heraldry. It indicates the rank in the heraldic achievement of clergy where the colours of hat and the number of tassels on each chord are assigned as follows; cardinals red (15), archbishops green (10) and bishops green (6). It is not just the hat alone which indicates rank. A double-traversed cross staff is placed behind the shield of an archbishop. This represents the cross carried before him in processions, which, however has a single traverse. Bishops are not entitled to the processional use of such a cross, but in heraldry they have acquired the right to place a single-traversed cross behind their shields (Crotty 2000, pp. 6-8).   

Table 1: The Archbishops of Tuam
(The version of arms used is given in brackets)
(An asterisk indicates the use of the diocesan arms only)

Archbishop Dillon
Six archbishops have impaled their arms these being Archbishops Dillon, Kelly, MacHale, Healy, Cassidy and Neary. The first of these was Archbishop Edward Dillon (from 1798-1809) who was born in the parish of Caltra, Ballinasloe in 1739. He had been superior of the Irish College at Douai in the 1780s and was a relative of Michael Bellew of Mountbellew whose wife was Jane Dillon, daughter of Henry Dillon of Kinclare, Caltra. Bellew's brother-in-law Edmund Taaffe, was a land agent for Viscount Dillon (Costello-Gallen, Co Sligo), who in turn was brother to Archbishop Arthur Dillon of Narbonne (from 1763-1806) (Harvey 1998, p. 102). The use of this connection was suggested while attempting to secure an earlier bishopric for Edward Dillon. He was appointed coadjutor bishop of Kilmacduagh in 1794 and succeeded to that See the following year. The source of reference, for the impaled arms of Tuam (Version 1) with Dillon, is the unpublished manuscript on Irish Catholic Heraldry by the late Michael McCarthy (c. 2003, p. 330), an Australian heraldist, who died in 2007. The Dillon arms cited by McCarthy were the same as those used by the Archbishop of Narbonne.  

Archbishop Kelly

Archbishop Oliver Kelly (from 1815-34) impaled the arms of Tuam (Version 1) with Kelly and used the family motto 'Turris Fortis Mihi Deus' ('God is my strong tower'). These arms were found on a seal owned by Dr T.B. Costello carrying the inscription 'Oliverius Archiepiscopus Tuamensis MDCCCXV' (Armstrong 1913/14, pp. 227-233). The Kelly arms are also depicted on the east window in the Cathedral. Following Dr Dillon’s death in 1809, Tuam was to be without an archbishop for more than five years. The clergy met and elected Dr Oliver Kelly as Vicar Capitular of the archdiocese. The ambitious Bishop Dominick Bellew (of Killala) and others in the province sought preferment. The western bishops met at Moylough in September 1809 and rejected Kelly as an ‘inexperienced, ambitious, imprudent young man’. The situation was not resolved until 1814 when Pope Pius VII was released after five years in exile. By then the main protagonists against Dr Kelly had died including Dr Bellew. Without hesitation his name went to Rome and he was appointed archbishop in September 1814. The episcopal ordination took place in March 1815 (Coen 1977, 14-29).


Archbishop MacHale


The arms of Archbishop John MacHale are depicted over the west doorway of the cathedral where those of Tuam (Version 1) impale the personal arms of Hale (an English family in Gloucester) chosen by Dr MacHale. These were unlikely to have been officially granted to the archbishop. Around the time of Catholic Emancipation it is possible that heraldry was viewed by some of the Catholic Hierarchy as an activity of the ‘Establishment’ and it was not seen to be embraced by Dr MacHale in an 1833 letter to the Lord Bishop of Exeter (MacHale 1847, Letter LXVIII, p. 331).

It is not, then, your titles we assume, … our heraldry is from heaven. Our shield is faith; its field vermillion, from the blood of the martyrs, and emblazoned with the light of hope; on the two compartments of this divine escutcheon, are to be seen the sword of the spirit and the breast-plate of justice, whilst the crest that crowns the whole, is the helmet of salvation. With such armorial bearings, the trophies of many a hard-fought fight …  and in the language of the inspired artist of our shield, defy the fiery darts of our enemies.

Fig. 10: The impaled arms of Tuam (1) and Kelly for Archbishop Oliver Kelly
Photo. courtesy of G.A.H.S.

Fig. 9: Tuam: The impaled arms of Tuam (1) and MacHale (Hale)

Archbishop MacEvilly

Archbishop John MacEvilly succeeded Dr MacHale in 1881 having been Coadjutor Archbishop since January 1878. Dr MacEvilly did not bear personal arms. The use of the diocesan arms (Tuam, Version 1) have been attributed to him by McCarthy (c. 2003, p. 330). It seems that he rarely used arms if at all. Official notepaper bearing a coat of arms used by Dr MacEvilly has not been seen in the diocesan archives. His notepaper was a ruled blue copy-book (personnel communication with Canon Kieran Waldron). However personal arms are attributed to him over the gateway at the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, Castlebar along with the inscription 'His Grace John MacEvilly Archbishop of Tuam 1881-1902'. Also displayed there are the arms of Pope Leo XIII, the arms of Tuam (Version 3) and the arms of the Urban District Council of Castlebar (granted in 1953). The addition of these arms in recent decades do not suggest the use of arms by Dr MacEvilly, but recognises his role in bringing the 'MacEvilly church' to completion in 1901.


Fig. 11: Castlebar: A coat of arms attributed to Archbishop John MacEvilly
Archbishop Healy

Archbishop John Healy (from 1903-18) whose motto was 'In Cruce Salus' ('Salvation from the cross') impaled the arms of Tuam (Version 2) with his personal arms. He was born in Ballinfad, Co Sligo and from an early age developed an interest in history, later claiming descent from the medieval Healy chieftains of north Roscommon. Dr Healy was a prolific writer and two of his histories included the Centenary History of Maynooth (1895) and the Life of St Patrick (1905). No doubt it was Dr Healy who devised the arms of Tuam (Version 2) as he was the first to use them. Before his appointment to Tuam, Dr Healy was Bishop in Clonfert and the impaled arms of Clonfert and Healy (Hely) are depicted on a stained-glass window in Maynooth. While he was in Clonfert he had the family ‘crest’ (likely the coat of arms) painted on his car. (Joyce 1931, p. 4). The arms of Hely chosen by Dr Healy were unlikely to have been officially granted.

Archbishop Gilmartin

Archbishop Thomas Gilmartin (from 1918-39) used the arms of Tuam (Version 2) only, without bearing personal arms. His motto was 'In Omnibus Caritas' ('Charity in all things'). Dr Gilmartin who was born in Rhinsinna, Castlebar in 1861, became Bishop of Clonfert in 1910 and succeeded Dr Healy as archbishop in 1918. His fellow Castlebar-man and contemporary, Fr Michael Higgins in June 1912 was ordained Auxiliary Bishop in Tuam. Following Dr Healy's death in 1918, Bishop Higgins was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese but he died shortly before a successor was chosen (Canning 1987, p. 322). The monument in the Church of the Holy Rosary at Castlebar to Bishop Michael Higgins  contains the diocesan arms (Tuam, Version 2) along with motto 'In Omnibus Caritas'. The presence of Dr Gilmartin's motto suggests that he was instrumental in the erection of the monument.

Fig. 12: Maynooth: The arms of Clonfert and Healy used by Bishop John Healy
Fig. 13: The arms of Tuam (2) and Healy for Archbishop John Heal

Photo. courtesy of the Archdiocese of Tuam
Archbishop Walsh
The modern version of the diocesan arms (Tuam, Version 3) were devised during the episcopate of Archbishop Joseph Walsh (from 1940-69). He did not bear personal arms and the version of arms used by Dr Walsh included water at the base of the cross. He was President of St Jarlath's College before his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop in 1938. The Old Tuam Society was formed in 1942 with Dr Tom Costello as first President and Dr Walsh as Patron. On St Jarlath's feast day (6 June) 1943 Archbishop Walsh led a pilgrimage to Toberjarlath. This period saw a revival of local interest in St Jarlath. The broken chariot wheel, depicted on the modern diocesan arms, also features on the arms granted to St Jarlath's College in 1955 and on the later grant to the Town. Dr Walsh's motto was 'Dominus Adjutor Meus' ('The Lord is my helper'). 
The papal arms of Pope St John Paul II, on the basilica at the National Marian Shrine in Knock, are of significant interest in the context of the ecclesiastical heraldry of the archdiocese. The Marian theme of Knock has influenced the arms of Archbishop Michael Neary and of Archbishop Eamon Martin. The visit of Pope St John Paul II to the shrine in September 1979 commemorated the centenary of the apparition in August 1879 when the Blessed Virgin Mary, St Joseph (to her right) and St John the Evangelist (to her left) appeared at the gable of the Church. Beside the figures and a little to the right in the centre of the gable was a large plain altar. On the altar stood a Lamb in front of a large cross, around which angels hovered for the duration of the apparition. The arms of Archbishop Eamon Martin, Primate of All-Ireland, depict a lamb standing in front of a cross.
Pope Benedict XVI referred to his predecessor's arms on his beatification (1 May 2011). The image of Mary, the Mother of God at the foot of cross (St John 19:25-27), was taken up in the episcopal and later in the papal coat of arms of Karol Wojtyła; a golden cross with the letter 'M' on the lower right. His motto was 'Totus tuus' ('all that I have is yours'). The Queen of Angels window in Knock Parish Church, donated by Cardinal McIntyre during the Marian Year of 1954, carries the arms of Los Angeles (archdiocese) and those of McIntyre along with his motto 'Miserere mei Deus' (' Have mercy on me O God').

Fig. 14: Westport: the late Archbishop Joseph Cunnane speaking with Pope St John Paul II

Fig. 15: Knock: The arms of Pope St John Paul II
Archbishop Cunnane

The late Archbishop Joseph Cunnane had a great devotion to the Shrine of Our Lady at Knock, in the parish where he was born in 1913. On the feast of Our Lady's Assumption in 1974 he laid the foundation stone for the new church that was called the Church of Our Lady, Queen of Ireland. It was designed by architects Louis J. Brennan, Brian Brennan and Dáithí P. Hanly (long-time Chairman of the Heraldry Society of. Ireland). Cardinal William Conway blessed the church on the Feast of the Assumption in 1976 and it was raised to the status of Basilica during the visit of Pope St John Paul II. A stained-glass window by George Walsh (1979) at St Mary's Church in Westport commemorating the centenary of the apparition at Knock portrays Dr Cunnane speaking with Pope St John Paul II. The late Archbishop used the diocesan arms (Tuam, Version 3) and did not bear personal arms. His motto was 'Familiam Dei Aedificare' ('To build up the family of God'). Dr Cunnane retired in 1987 and resided in Knock until 1993. He returned to Tuam and died there on 8 March 2001.     

Archbishop Neary

Archbishop Michael Neary who succeeded Archbishop Cassidy in 1995 was granted personal arms by the Chief Herald in 1992 after becoming auxiliary Bishop in Tuam. To evoke Christian meaning he chose annulets (rings) from the arms of Neary and of Gibbons, his mother's family. Two of the rings are transformed on his arms to represent the ancient Christian symbols, the sun representing Christ, the light of world and the moon representing the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Church. The central ring is an emblem of the wedding band of gold and its promise of fidelity. Dr Neary's arms also reflect his family’s closeness and affinity with the Marian Shrine at Knock. The Marian theme is reflected by the Marian monogram at the base of the shield and by the presence of the lamb on the chief. The monogram symbolises Mary, the Mother of God drawing the faithful towards her son. The presence of the lamb evokes the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. In turn this represents the centrality of the sacrament of reconciliation at Knock. Archbishop Neary's motto is 'Fidelis et Misericors' ('Faithful and Merciful'). The impaled arms of Tuam (Version 3) and Neary as crafted by Ms Ursula Klinger in 2000 are present in the Cathedral.

Archbishop Cassidy

The late Archbishop Joseph Cassidy (from 1987-94) whose Irish motto was 'Le Caoineas Chríost' ('With the gentleness of Christ') impaled the arms of Tuam (Version 3) with his personal arms. He adapted the 'usual' Cassidy arms by replacing the white boar, at the base of the shield, with a white lion standing on a snake or serpent. This addition by Dr Cassidy adds a Christian context to the Cassidy arms whereby the lion refers to Christ, the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev 5:5) overcoming the power of evil as authorised to the disciples 'I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy ... '(Luke 10:19). The image also appeals to the Irish psyche where St Patrick 'banishes' the snakes from Ireland. The addition of a third lion to the Cassidy arms also evokes the image of the Trinity. Archbishop Cassidy died on 31 January 2013 and is buried in the grounds of Moore Church where he served as Parish Priest (1995-2009).

Fig. 16: The impaled arms of Tuam (3) and Cassidy  for Archbishop Joseph Cassidy
Photo. courtesy of the Archdiocese of Tuam

Bishop Michael Browne

The Archdiocese of Tuam was established with suffragan dioceses in 1152 at the Synod of Kells. In the modern Roman Catholic administration these are Achonry, Clonfert, Elphin, Killala along with the combined diocese* of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora. Bishop Michael Browne’s arms are of interest. He was born in Westport in 1895 and was Bishop of Galway* from 1937 to 1976. The impaled arms of Galway* and of Browne (granted in 1961) are in the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas at Galway. Bishop Browne used the motto 'Veritate et Aequitate' ('Truth and Justice'). The arms of Galway* represent the coming together of three ancient communities under their patrons; St Nicholas (Patron of Galway) is depicted along  with  the three maidens whom he helped; the book and crozier refer to St Colman, founder of the diocese of Kilmacduagh and the rose recalls an incident in the life of St Fachanan, Patron of the diocese of Kilfenora.

Cardinal Terence Cooke

A cardinal with local Tuam connections was Cardinal Terence Cooke (1921-83) of New York. His father Michael Cooke was from Cuillagh (Abbeyknockmoy) and his mother Margaret Gannon came from Shoodaun (Newcastle, Athenry). His cause for sainthood has been initiated and he is now a Servant of God. He became Archbishop of New York in 1968 and the following year was elevated to cardinal. The surname of Cooke is a variant of Mac Dabóc, a name of a branch of the Burke family. Cardinal Cooke then based his arms on those of Burke, a gold field divided by a red cross with a black lion rampant in the first quarter (Ryan 1968). These arms probably allowed him develop a theology whereby the black lion refers to Christ, the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev 5:5). The death and resurrection of Christ would then be symbolised by the cross and by the tau cross respectively. Ryan attributes the tau cross to St Terence, an early Christian martyr and saint. The descent of the Holy Spirit is also represented on the arms by the depiction of the flame in the fourth quarter. The other two quarters bear an ermine spot from the arms of Cardinal Spellman whom Cardinal Cooke had served as Auxiliary Bishop. A biographical sketch released by the archdiocese in 1978 stated that his father, along with Cardinal Spellman was the greatest influence in his life (Groeschel and Weber 1990, p. 81). He visited Ireland shortly after his ordination likely in the summer of 1946 when he gave his first blessing to parishioners in his mother's native parish of Newcastle and probably likewise in Abbeyknockmoy. His motto was 'Fiat voluntas tua' ('Thy will be done').

Fig 17: Galway: The impaled arms of Galway and Browne for Bishop Michael Browne

Fig. 18:  The personal arms of Cardinal Terence Cooke


Armstrong, E.C.R. 1913/14    'Some Seal Matrices Connected with the Province of Tuam'                                                 in Journal of Galway Archaeological and Historical Society,                                                Vol. 8, part 4, pp. 227-33.

Bellew, S.        2009                'Heraldry in the Cathedral of the Assumption' in JOTS, Vol. 6,                                                                                           pp. 8-13.

Bellew, S.        2010                'Heraldry in St Mary's Cathedral' in JOTS, Vol. 7, pp. 70-75.

Burke, B.         1884                General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

Burke, D.        21/2/2013        ‘Omnibus: Coats of Arms’ in The Tuam Herald, p. 12.

Canning, B.J.  1987                Bishops of Ireland 1870-1987.

Claffey, J.A.   1986                The Cathedral of the Assumption: Tuam.

Claffey, J.A.   2009                Irish Historic Towns Atlas: Tuam.

Coen, M.         1977                'The Choosing of Oliver Kelly for the See of Tuam 1809-15', in                                           Journal of Galway Archaeological and Historical Society,                                                    Vol. 36, pp. 14-29.

Crotty, G.        2000                ‘Heraldry in Ireland’, part 13  in Irish Roots, No. 1, pp. 6-8.

Harvey, K.      1998                The Bellews of Mount Bellew.

Groeschel, B.J. 1990                Thy Will be done: A Spiritual Portrait of Terence Cardinal      & Weber,T.                          Cooke.

Joyce, P.J.       1931                John Healy, Archbishop of Tuam.

MacHale, J.     1847                The Letters of the Most Reverend John Mac Hale D.D.                                                    Archbishop of Tuam.

McCarthy, M.             c. 2003                        'An Armorial of the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church in                                                                           Ireland', an unpublished manuscript in the Genealogical                                                       Office, Dublin.

Ó hAodha, R.                         'From "gore bed" to royal circuit Toirdelbach Ó Conchobair                                                 and the bloody birth of Tuam (1115)', forthcoming.

Papworth, J.W. 1874              Papworth’s Ordinary of British Armorials.

Ryan, W.F.J.   1968                'Cardinal Cooke's Coat of Arms' in 'The New York Catholic'                                               dated 4 April 1968.                

Vinycomb, J.  1897                 Arms of the Bishoprics of Ireland ... Chap. II: The Province of

& Garstin, J.R.                        Armagh (with Tuam)’ in Ulster Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Jan. 1897), pp. 99-112.

Ware, J.           1739                Sir James Ware's History of the Bishops of the Kingdom of                                                 Ireland. (Published by Walter Harris, husband of Sir James                                                  Ware's             great-granddaughter, Mary.)

Official Records of the Chief Herald

Vol. R, fol. 11, Urban District Council of Castlebar, 1953

Vol. R, fol. 35, St Jarlath's College, 1955

Vol. S, fol. 31, Bishop Michael Browne, 1961

Vol. X, fol. 23, Tuam Town Commissioners, 1991

Vol. X, fol. 35a, Bishop Michael Neary, 1992


I would like to thank Most Revd Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam and The Rt Revd Patrick W Rooke, Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry for their encouragement and support as well as Revd Fintan Monahan, Diocesan Secretary, Archbishop's House for his help and assistance. Canon Kieran Waldron (Tuam Diocesan Archive) provided advice and assistance with research and photographs. Tom Kilgarriff (Galway Diocesan Archive) contributed helpful information. For help with Cardinal Cooke's arms, I am grateful to Deacon Paul J. Sullivan, U.S.A. and Revd John Hogan Adm., Rathkenny, Co Meath. I acknowledge Kieran Hoare and Galway Archaeological and Historical Society for the kind permission to use the Kelly photograph from the 1913/14 Journal. Thanks also to Dr J.A. Claffey and Micheál Ó Comáin. I would like to especially thank Gerard Crotty for the use of some paragraphs from his work and for reading drafts of this article and for many helpful comments. Finally thanks to Ruairí Ó hAodha and the editorial team of JOTS.

Personal Arms

Browne           Or, an eagle displayed with two heads, in chief two towers sable.

Burke             Or, a cross gules, in the dexter canton a lion rampant sable. 
Cassidy           Per chevron argent and gules, in chief two lions rampant gules, each holding a                    daisy, slipped proper and in base a lion rampant argent standing on a serpent  vert                  

Cooke             Or, on a cross nowy gules, a tau cross of the first; in the first quarter, a lion rampant sable; in the fourth, an urn of the same with flames issuant proper; in the second and third, an ermine spot of the third.

Dillon              Argent, a lion rampant between three crescents.

(Mac)Hale      (Alderley, Gloucester) Argent a fess sable, in chief three cinquefoils argent.

Kelly               Azure, a tower triple-towered supported by two lions rampant argent as many                    chains descending from the battlements between the lions’ legs or.

Healy              (Hely) Azure a fess between three stags heads erased in chief argent and a                          demi lion rampant at base or, for Hely in Hely-Hutchison.

MacEvilly       (Staunton) Argent, two chevrons and bordure engrailed sable.

Neary              Per fess gules and azure on a fess of the first fimbriated between in chief a                         lamb passant and in base the Marian monogram (MR) all argent, an annulet                     between on the dexter a sun and on the sinister the moon, or.

Pope St John Paul II 
                        Azure a cross or, the upright placed to dexter and the crossbar enhanced, in                        sinister base an M of the same.

Arms of Dioceses

Achonry         (Roman Catholic) Argent a crozier in pale or debruised in fess with an open                       book argent, bound azure, all between four trefoils slipped vert.

Clonfert          Azure two crosiers in saltire or.

Elphin             Sable  two crosiers  indorsed  in  saltire  or, in  base  a lamb couchant argent in                   chief a mitre of the second.

Galway           (R.C.) Azure, a bishop (St Nicholas) in benediction in full pontificals proper, with a crozier between, in chief three mullets argent and in base three children kneeling or for Galway; impaling Gules, a crozier in pale or, debruised in fess with an open book argent, bound or for Kilmacduagh; a point in base vert, a rose for Kilfenora.

Killala             Gules a crozier in pale or, suppressed by a book proper garnished and clasped                     gold.

Tuam 1           Azure three figures erect, in the middle the Blessed Virgin with the Christ child in her arms; on the dexter side a mitred abbot, with the dexter hand giving benediction, with the sinister holding a crozier bendwise; on the sinister side St John (the Baptist) holding his dexter hand upwards, and in the sinister a lamb, each in proper vestments, all or, hands and feet proper over each of their heads Gothic canopies of the second.

Tuam 2           Azure, St Jarlath in full pontificals argent or.

Tuam 3           Sable a Latin cross argent eradiated downwards or surmounted by a broken                       chariot wheel.

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