The Maloney Coat Of Arms

Who created the Irish coats of arms and where did our Maloney coat of arms originate?

In Irish Family Names, John Grenham provides an interesting discussion entitled "The History of Heraldry in Ireland"1

Grenham begins with some general remarks. "Heraldry is the study and description of coats of arms, and of the rights of individuals and families to bear arms." (p. 28) He discusses heraldry's origins during the first half of the twelfth century in the military necessity of having identity markings on shields. Richardson notes that "By the 13th century armorial bearings were applied to the linen surcoat over the armour, and from this came the term 'coat-of-arms'."2 Grenham says that, towards the end of the thirteenth century, "it became established that coats of arms were personal and hereditary" (p. 29).

Then Grenham goes on to discuss the various traditions of heraldry in Ireland: those of the Gaels, the Normans, and the Anglo-Irish. He concludes that the heraldic traditions of the Normans and the Anglo-Irish "form part of the mainstream of European heraldry, while the arms found among the Gaelic Irish have particular characteristics which set them apart." (p. 32)

Coat of Arms

Azure, in pale, an archer's bow, or, on the sinister

on the dexter, a sheath of arrows, of the second

He elaborates:

"As well as the association of [Gaelic] heraldic symbolism with pre-Christian myth, the nature of the property relations within the extended family meant that arms were used in ways quite different to those practiced among the Normans and Anglo-Irish. In particular, most of the arms were regarded as the property of the sept3, rather than being strictly hereditary within a single family, as was and is the case under English and Scottish heraldic law." (p. 32)

Finally, Grenham discusses the regulators. The Office of Ulster King of Arms, "with authority over all arms in Ireland, was set up in 1552" (p. 30) . . . "Over the first 150 years of its existence, the Office was almost exclusively concerned with Anglo-Irish heraldry, recording, registering and legitimising the practice of arms that had grown up." (p. 33) In 1943, the office of Chief Herald of Ireland "was created to continue to fulfill the functions of Ulster in independent Ireland" (Ibid.).

The Irish Heraldic Scroll gives the following information for Moloney (Maloney).

Arms: Azure, in pale, an archer's bow, or, on the sinister; on the dexter, a sheath of arrows, of the second

Crest: None Recorded

Motto: None Recorded

Remembering that left and right refer to the person holding the shield (and, therefore, are the opposite for the viewer), in layman's language, the Maloney Heraldic Blazon is:

A blue background with an archer's bow, in gold, on the left side; on the right side, a sheath of arrows is also pictured.


1John Grenham, Irish Family Names. Roberts Wholesale Books Ltd.: Dublin, 2000. pp. 28-34.
2John Richardson, The Local Historian's Encyclopedia. Historical Publications Limited: New Barnet, Herts. Second Edition, 1986 (1993), p. 213.
3The first Chief Herald of Ireland, Edward MacLysaght, in Irish Families: Their Names, Arms and Origins. Fourth Edition, Revised and Enlarged. Irish Academic Press Limited. Dublin, 1985, defines a "sept" as: " a group of persons who . . . bore a common surname and inhabited the same locality" (p. 9) and he goes on to say that "Molony is a Dalcassian ("from Dál Cáis", having a "collective clan-name", p. 9) sept belonging to Kiltanon near Tulla in East Clare, where they are very numerous today" (p. 128).


Last Updated: 2014-07-10
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