• International Association of Amateur Heralds

The Association is a diverse assembly of professional and non-professional genealogists, heraldists, historians, and graphic artists dedicated to providing the general public with heraldic information and design guidance at no charge. The Association exists only in cyberspace and is composed of people from twenty-three nations amongst its membership. The IAAH was created to encourage the art and science of heraldry. http://www.amateurheralds.org/

Andrew Tully

   Mr. Andrew Michael Tully, FGSI, Honorary Herald of the Genealogical Society of Ireland.

HERALDRY IRELAND : ARALTAS ÉIREANN

  • Armorial Gold

Whilst, some may argue that the mystique and exclusivity of heraldry and especially, the archaic language used, is something to cultivate in order to preserve this ancient art form within the custody of the learned few. This small, mostly well heeled band of gentlemen, view heraldry as part of a wider heritage of knights, nobles and, of course, royalty and all this lavishly topped with pomp and circumstance.

But whether they know it or simply deny it, the world has embraced heraldry in its many forms and adapted the symbols and emblems to meet altogether different and more modern and cosmopolitan requirements. Most of these new realities for which heraldry has now been successfully and imaginatively employed have nothing whatsoever to do with nobles, monarchs or monarchical systems of government. Republics like Ireland and South Africa have their state heraldic authorities whilst, others like the United States of America employ heraldry adapted to meet the needs of many sectors of government without having established a federal or official heraldic authority.

The popularity of heraldic symbolism is self evident as each football club, school or town council has its coat-of-arms proudly worn and displayed. To meet this growing interest in heraldic symbolism a Canadian firm has developed a unique collection of CD Roms designed to bring various heraldic symbols, insignia and terminology to the public at large. In this respect, Mike Hamilton and his team of artists have certainly achieved their worthy objective.

Indeed, far from just being pretty pictures drawn in a distinctively heraldic fashion, this collection is an educational tool in itself as it provides the correct description of each and brings its readers through the art of creating a coat-of-arms using the correct terminology which seems complicated and strange to many.

But Mike Hamilton’s team has made unlocking the otherwise impenetrable language of heraldry an art form in itself. Purists may argue that popularising heraldry in this manner and especially, making available “off-the-rack” symbols and shields somehow cheapens or treats heraldry with less than the dignity in which it has become accustomed. To these harbingers of heraldic doom these CD Rom publications are a much needed wake up call.

Heraldry should not, especially, in Ireland and other republics become confused with nobility or the nonsense that Arms should only be granted to those that have “reached the port of gentry”. It is a heritage shared by all and companies like Armorial Gold Heraldry Services will through their publications ensure the continued rise in popularity and ultimate survival of heraldry as an everyday form of symbolism. In their Gold Collection, there are over 13,500 hand drawn heraldic art pieces presented in vector format for ease of use. These art pieces allow the enthusiastic amateur to experiment with various designs and to produce stunningly colourful results. The art pieces are royalty free and it is hoped to include various examples in this newsletter, from time to time, in our own endeavours to promote the study of heraldry and vexillology. Armorial Gold can be contacted through their website www.heraldicclipart.com or by mail to Armorial Gold Heraldry Services in the USA 14781 Memorial Dr. Suite #771, Houston, TX 77079 and in Canada 403-8, Gorge Road West, Victoria, BC, Canada, V9A 1L8