March is here

March is here. The two Irish flags in the back are faded and have been flown the most in past years. The other one with the red cross is also an Irish flag. It has been mistaken for the Alabama and Florida state flags, though Florida has a state seal in its center. The Alabama flag, created in early 1890s, was described as “a crimson St. Andrews cross on white field.
In Ireland the coat of arms of the ancient Munster family of Fitzgerald was described as “a red saltire on argent field” or [translated] “a red cross on silver [white].” I suppose that was symbolic of the royal house at the time. The Geraldines were a succession of Earls of Desmond. The Coat of Arms of Desmond is not always displayed as Desmond, probably because it was a place before it was an Irish surname. But, the place was Munster and under the control of Geraldines and called the House of Desmond. The Coat of Arms was “a red saltire on argent ermine.” The black marks are the symbol of the ermine which had black tips to its tail in winter. There is an old ruin of a stone church on the road in Adare, west of the town center. On the stone façade are two Coats of Arms carved in relief. On the left is the saltire cross on a shield shape which is plain on the four fields between the bars. On the left is another shield with a saltire cross, but the four fields between the saltire bars has the ermine marks. Both Coats of Arms on the same building.


Timothy J. Desmond
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