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Civic heraldry of Ireland
Araltais in Éirinn


County : Kerry

Arms (crest) of Killarney

Official blazon


Killarney [=Cill Airne] means Church of the Sloes (Prunus spinosa). The church was one of three churches in the valley which were amalgamated in the early 1600s, possibly as a result of the suppression of the monasteries by Henry VIII. The three blue diamonds may represent these churches. Another explanation for the diamonds is the three Lakes of Killarney which have made the region the premier tourist site in Ireland since the mid 1800s.

The stag rampant in the upper right may represent one or both of the following: (a) the herd of red deer which has lived in the region for centuries and is the only herd of native deer in Ireland; (b) the O'Sullivans, a regional royal family that held sway in the Kingdom of Kerry in southwest Ireland from the 11th to the 17th century. Part of the O'Sullivan arms is a golden stag rampant.

The golden quills in the bottom right may represent either or both of the following: (a)the Annals of Inishfallen which is a history of the world written in 1010 AD by one of the monks resident in Muckross Abbey in Killarney. The Annals are now held in the collection of Oxford University in England; (b) The Four Poets of Kerry, a group of poets who flourished in the late 16th and early 17th centuries and were the last of the Old Irish bards. The Four are buried in Muckross Abbey.

Around 1905 the card below was issued for Klillarney:

Arms of Killarney

The arms as used on a JaJa postcard +/- 1905

These arms are not the arms of the town, but a combination of the arms of three well known families from the area.
In chief, Browne Earl of Kenmare (co. Kerry): Argent three martlets in pale Sable between two flaunches of the last on each a lion passant guardant of the first.
Dexter, McCarthy: Argent a stag trippant Gules attired and unguled Or.
Sinister, Herbert of Muckross (near Killarney): Per pale Azure and Gules three lions rampant Argent armed and langued Or.

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Literature : Image taken from Background provided by Brian Halton, USA and Eddie Geoghegan.