Origin, Meaning, Family History and Ireland Coat of Arms and Family Crest
English in origin the surname Ireland comes from the medieval English compound word “Iraland”. The prefix of the word “Iras” translated to Irishman and “land” translated as it sounded, land or region. In this context the name would be topographical as it was used in reference to an inhabitant of Ireland.
In Europe, the majority of what would later come to be surnames were little more than descriptors or identifiers up until the late 16th to early 17th centuries. Until this period in time, only those of nobility had what would be considered proper surnames. Due to the small size of settlements and villages which existed during earlier times, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities new each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, with the passage of time, population growth and expansions of communities as villages gave way to towns and cities, it became necessary to add a qualifier to a people’s names to distinguish them, one from another. Therefore one person may have been identified by their given name plus their occupation while another may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent’s names. There was a limitless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal/matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individuals home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. The practice of using surnames also served another practical purpose, it gave governments a reliable way to track people for tax and census purposes.
Many of the earliest recordings of surnames are found in official church records and government documents. One of the earliest recordings of any variation of the name Ireland is that of Richard Ireis found in the Shropshire tax rolls dated 1169. These rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of Queen Henry II, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century.
One noted issue with the record keeping of this era is the variations in the spelling of surnames, this is attributed to a lack of consistency regarding guidelines for spelling in use by the scribes who recorded such information dating back to ancient times. In addition, many of these record keepers were in the habit of spelling phonetically, however, what may have sounded one way to one person may have sounded completely different to another. Due to these issues, variations in the name can include, but are not limited to; Ireland; Irish; Ierland; and Iroland as well as others.
After the founding of America, Canada, and other lands abroad, migration began to occur in greater volume than ever before. Some of the first immigrants to America were Martha Ireland and her children, Mary, Samuel, and Thomas who landed and settled in Boston, Massachusetts in 1635. George Ireland was one of the early immigrants to Australia, settling in Adelaide in 1850. John de Courcy Ireland was one of the early settlers to New Zealand, settling in Auckland in1840.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Ireland are found in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Ireland live in Maine, Idaho, Kansas, and South Dakota.
There are many notable people with the surname Ireland. David Kenneth Ireland was born in Bellingham, Washington, he was a noted minimalist architect, sculptor, and conceptual artist.
He received his education at the California College of Arts and Crafts, Western Washington University, San Francisco Art Institute, and Laney College. During his career, Ireland won many awards including the N.E.A Artist Fellowship grant, Adaline Kent Award, the Engelhard Award, and the American Academy of Art.
Ireland Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Ireland blazon are the fleur-de-lis, dove, mullet and lion passant. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and argent.
The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” . Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron , perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
The fleur-de-lys (“flower of the lily”) has a long and noble history and was a symbol associated with the royalty of France even before heraldry became widespread. . The Lily flower is said to represent “Purity, or whiteness of soul” and sometimes associated with the Virgin Mary. The fleur-de-lys is also used as a small “badge”, known as a mark of cadency to show that the holder is the sixth son of the present holder of the arms
Birds of great variety occur throughout heraldry, at least in name . In truth, despite the proliferation of species, the actual depictions can sometimes be hard to distinguish! The dove is an example of this, closely related birds such as pigeon and stock dove are frequently mentioned in arms but visually almost identical. The dove itself is said to represent “loving constancy and peace” , the other birds possibly some play on words with the family name (PIDGEON for example).
The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” . A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires . In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” .