Office of the Chief Herald FAQs

Listed below are some frequently asked questions about the Office of the Chief Herald.

Who may apply for a grant of arms?

Arms may be granted, at the discretion of the Chief Herald of Ireland, and subject to guidelines laid down from time to time by the Committee on Genealogy and Heraldry and the Board of the National Library of Ireland.  Subject to those guidelines, arms may be granted as aforesaid to:

A citizen of Ireland or a person who has an entitlement to become a citizen;

A person resident in the State for at least the five-year period immediately before the date of the application;

A public or local authority, corporate body or other entity which has been located or functioning in Ireland for at least five years;

An individual, corporate body or other entity not resident or located in Ireland but who or which has substantial historical, cultural, educational, financial or ancestral connections with Ireland.

Arms granted by other heraldic authorities to persons who are also eligible for Irish grants of arms may, on application to the Office of the Chief Herald, be confirmed by the Chief Herald.

How do I apply for a grant of arms?

An application for a grant of arms should be made to the Chief Herald on the prescribed form setting out, in the case of a personal application, basic personal information and accompanied by supporting certificates or other appropriate documents.

For a grant of arms to a corporate body or other entity the application should include information about the legal status (if any) of the organisation, its structure, its activities and business, the length of time during which it has operated and, if relevant, information about membership.  Where appropriate a certified copy of the resolution of the Council, Board or other controlling body should be submitted.

Please note that the Chief Herald will not grant on the basis of completed designs submitted by the applicant.

How long does it take to process an application for a grant of arms?

If, on preliminary examination, an application appears to be in order, the applicant is notified accordingly.  The matter is considered in detail by a herald of arms who will consult with the applicant about possible designs.  A preliminary painting is then made and the applicant will also be shown a draft of the Letters Patent.  The final document is issued on vellum and includes a hand-painted exemplification of arms.  The grant of arms is recorded in the Register of Arms and is a matter of public record.

Devising and designing arms and creating the finished document requires a considerable input of time.  The time taken to deal with an application can vary.  Depending on the number on hand and the nature and extent of the work involved it may take up to twelve months to complete the processing of a new application.

How much does it cost?

Personal grant or confirmation of arms                            €4400

Local Authorities, Government offices and agencies         €8600    

Schools, Clubs, Professional Associations       
and other non-profit Organisations                                   €8600

Corporate Bodies (Commercial)                                       €17250

The sum of €400 is payable when lodging the application; half of the remaining fee is payable when work on the design begins; and the balance must be paid before work on the actual grant of arms is put in hand by the Herald Painter.

What is the effect of a grant of arms?

A grant of arms constitutes a license to use the arms, which allows the grantee, according to the traditional formula, to display the arms “on shield or banner or otherwise according to the Laws of Arms”.  The copyright in a grant of arms resides with the Board of the National Library of Ireland.

A grant of arms does not confer any rank or title or have any effect on the right of the person concerned to any property, real or personal.  A grant of arms made to an individual extends to his or her descendants of the name, not to a family as such.


 
Can I use my ‘family coat of arms’?

There is, strictly speaking, no such thing as a ‘family coat of arms’.  A grant of arms made to an individual extends to his or her descendants of the name, not to a family as such.

Is a ‘crest’ the same thing as a ‘coat of arms’?

In heraldry the term ‘crest’ refers only to that part of a full achievement of arms which sits on top of a helmet, and so it should not be used to refer to a whole coat of arms.

Will the Office of the Chief Herald undertake research for me?

The Office of the Chief Herald does not undertake research or searches of material held in the Office for members of the public.

Please refer to the section Commissioning Research for further information on how to commission research from a third party.

Example of Letters Patent signed and sealed by the Chief Herald December 2005
Example of Letters Patent signed and sealed by the Chief Herald December 2005
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