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Heraldry had its birth on the battlefields of Medieval Europe. To distinguish themselves in battle, knights had unique, identifying designs painted on their armour. The resulting ‘coats of arms’ became popular, evolving from their original purpose to become coveted status symbols.

Those responsible for the design and recording of coats of arms became known as heralds. Ireland has had its own herald since 1552. Since the 1940s, the work of designing and recording coats of arms in Ireland had been undertaken by the State Genealogical Office. Today the Office, usually called the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland, is based on the main campus of the National Library of Ireland.

This exhibition and its supporting resources have been specially developed for a primary school audience. Specifically, they explore themes covered by the SPHE syllabus for 5th and 6th class, including:

  • Myself
  • Myself and my family
  • My friends and other people
  • Developing citizenship

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