The Office of Arms was, and in some senses still is, the oldest office of State in Ireland. Established in 1552 as the Office of Ulster King of Arms, the heraldic authority for the island of Ireland, for almost 400 years it granted coats of arms to individuals, places and organisations; maintained family trees and arbitrated on the rights of inheritance; and stage-managed the pomp and ceremony of the State. In 1943, it became the last office to be handed over by the British Government to the Irish State and became the Genealogical Office and later the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland, now part of the National Library of Ireland. At Dublin Castle, ‘Splendour and Scandal: The Office of Arms at Dublin Castle’ explores this history, examining its role in state ceremonial occasions, the controversy of the disappearance of the Irish Crown Jewels, and its role in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. An online version of the exhibition is also available.
Splendour and Scandal: The Office of Arms at Dublin Castle: until 24 January