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Dublin County Council, Ireland

Last modified: 2005-10-22 by rob raeside
Keywords: dublin | south dublin | fingal | castle | burning castle | crow | harp | dun laoghaire peoples' heritage flag |
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County of Dublin

[Dublin County] image provided by Rochard Herve

This flag is sold in Dublin as the 'Dublin flag' - it is a flag of the County of Dublin. It is based on the county colours
Rochard Herve
, 11 May 2003

See also:

Fingal County Council

[Fingal County Council] image by Vincent Morley

Dublin County Council was abolished on 1 January 1994 and replaced by three new county councils. One of these is Fingal County Council. The new council has adopted as its flag a vertical bicolour of dark green and white - colours which appear to have been taken from the council's arms and which, as far as I know, had no previous association with the area.

The arms are centred in the white stripe and show a Viking longboat and a raven (another Norse emblem and one which appeared on the arms and flag of the old Dublin County Council), both of which recall the Norse settlement of Fingal in the 9th and 10th centuries - the Irish form of the placename, Fine Gall, means "foreign tribe". The emblem in the upper left of the shield is a St Brigid's cross (a small cross woven from straw which is traditional in the area) and the sheaf of wheat in the upper right of the shield represents Fingal's position as one of the principal corn-growing areas in Ireland. The motto (Flúirse Talaimh is Mara) means "abundance of land and of sea" - Fingal contains a number of fishing ports.

Vincent Morley, 2 January 1998

South Dublin County Council

[South Dublin County Council] image by Pascal Vagnat

I received some information about the flag of the South Dublin County Council. It is white with the coat of arms of the county council in the middle. The proportions are unknown.

Pascal Vagnat, 28 August 1997

Dublin County Council (former flag):

[Dublin County Council] image by Mario Fabretto

Dublin County Council was abolished and replaced by three new county councils (Fingal, South Dublin and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown) on 1 January 1994.

Vincent Morley, 1 November 1997

This flag was of the county council - the elected body responsible for local administration. It was flown at council offices but it did not represent the county and is not used by the general population.

Vincent Morley, 1 November 1997


Dublin City Council

[Dublin City Council] image by Vincent Morley

The flag of Dublin was adopted in 1885. The arms of the city, which date from the medieval period, were at first placed in a small square canton on the national flag of the period (a gold harp centred on a green field). The canton has since been enlarged to cover a quarter of the flag, thus displacing the harp towards the fly.
Vincent Morley,
26 October 1996

The official flag used by the city council places three burning castles in the the canton of a green flag which has a large gold harp in the fly. This is the only flag flown by the city authorities - it can always be seen flying at both the mansion house (the residence of the mayor) and the city hall, where the city council meets, and often at other buildings owned by the city council. The flag used by the public, in both the city and Dublin county as a whole (the county covers a larger area than the city) is a dark blue/light blue bicolour - most commonly arranged vertically with the dark blue in the hoist. This flag is commonly seen but has no official status.
Vincent Morley, 13 September 2003

The castle of Dublin first appears in the 13th century seal of the city. On the seal Dublin is clearly under siege, from the central tower two sentries sound the alarm, while on each flanking tower stands an archer with a cross-bow. It probably depicts the readiness of the citizens, not an actual siege. Later, the single tower was replaced by three different castles, the small figures were replaced by flames from the towers. The fire indicates the zeal of the citizens in defence of the city.
Source: International Civic Heraldry site, 27 March 2004

[Dublin City Council vertical flag] image by Laurence Jones

A vertical version of the Dublin City flag can be seen flown at either end of O'Connell Bridge in the centre of the city. It is in the proportion 1:2, the top third bearing the city arms - Azure three castles flammant proper, the lower two thirds are green with the gold harp. I have seen this flag on three visits to Dublin in Summer 2005. The flag is flown in conjunction with a similarly proportioned European Union flag.
Laurence Jones, 4 September 2005

It should be noted that the castles are double-towered. This is the correct form of the city arms as recorded in 1607. In 1899 a certificate was issued by Sir Arthur Vicars, Ulster King of Arms, in which the castles were shown as being triple-towered. This was in error and was corrected following the intervention of Chief Herald Edward MacLysaght in 1945. However, a leaflet issued by Dublin City Libraries still shows the incorrect 1899 version.
Laurence Jones, 4 September 2005

Rathmines and Rathgar Urban District Council

[Rathmines flag] image by Laurence Jones, 2 August 2005

Rathmines Township was created in 1847 by Act of Parliament. In 1862 the township was enlarged and renamed Rathmines & Rathgar, and in 1899 the Commissioners for the township became an Urban District Council. Despite fierce resistance, the Urban District was absorbed by the City and County Borough of Dublin under Section 2 of the Local Government (Dublin) Act of 1930.

On 3rd October 1928 the Council resolved "That a grant of arms be obtained from the Office of Arms at a cost of £44:0:0". This was the first (and only) civic authority to seek a grant in the twenty-one year period when Ulster's Office operated in the independent Free State. The arms seemed to have been sought so that a flag could be flown from Rathmines Town Hall in the Council's last months of existence.

By sixth of February in the following year, the design must have been complete as Messrs Lanigans were awarded the tender to manufacture a municipal flag. In the letters patent issued the following month the arms are shown as a banner or flag as well as on a shield.

The arms were officially granted on 21st March 1929, and the official blazon was:

Argent a saltire gules, overall in pale on a mount vert a Celtic cross proper, a chief of the third, thereon on a pale between two towers of the field in front of a tree erased, two battleaxes in saltire proper.

On the 4th September 1929 the flag was ready, and it was resolved that the flag would be flown "while all meetings of the council are in session".

The principal charge in the arms is the red saltire on white, or "Cross of St. Patrick". To this has been added a Celtic cross. There being no such monument in the area it is presumably representative of the heritage and history of the area. It may be coincidental, but the two crosses combine "ascendancy" and "Gaelic" symbols. The chief of the arms most likely represents the Battle of Rathmines, fought on 2nd August 1649.

In 1930 the Urban District Council had been informed that they would cease to exist from the 14th of October of that year. At the last council meeting on 8th October the following was minuted:

Council's Flag
On the motion of Miss ffrench Mullen seconded by Mrs Johnson it was resolved:-"That we request the Council of Greater Dublin to accept the flag of Rathmines to be retained in the City Hall".

[Sources, Register of Arms, Genealogical Office, Dublin; Minutes of Rathmines and Rathgar UDC, Dublin City Archives]
Laurence Jones, 2 August 2005

Dún Laoghaire Peoples' Heritage Flag

[Dún Laoghaire Peoples' Heritage Flag] image provided by Michael Merrigan

  • Design: diagonal gold over St. Patrick’s blue with a black bull’s head on the gold and a white Celtic cross on the blue
  • Significance: gold for the High Kingship of Ireland – the land of the Celtic Sun God Lugh – in the 5th century the twilight years of pagan Celtic Ireland.
    • black bull for High King Laoghaire Mac Niall the eponymous founder of Dún Laoghaire in the fifth century AD – Laoghaire from the Irish for “calf-herder” – the bull or tarbh was sacred to the Celts.
    • blue – commonly called St Patrick’s blue, representing the Ancient Kingdom of Ireland and the sea - representing the area’s rich maritime heritage.
    • white Celtic Cross signifies the arrival of Christianity to Ireland during the reign of High King Laoghaire with the mission of St. Patrick and the dawn of Irish recorded history.
  • Designer: local artist, Veronica Heywood from a historical concept by Michael Merrigan (2003) for use by Dún Laoghaire Town Football Club, Dún Laoghaire Community Association and other community organisations in Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin, Ireland.
  • Arms: the design is also used as the Arms of Dún Laoghaire Town Football Club Limited – per bend or – a bull’s head caboshed sable; azure – a Celtic cross argent.
  • Flag: the “Dún Laoghaire Peoples’ Heritage Flag” was made by Dublin Flagmakers – O’Regan of Pearse Street, Dublin and first flown in Holyhead, north Wales during a soccer match between Dún Laoghaire Town Football Club and Holyhead Hotspur in May 2004 and has been used since in community parades, events and campaigns in Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin, Ireland.

Michael Merrigan
Hon. Secretary, Genealogical Society of Ireland, 6 June 2005