O’Leary Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History

O'leary Family Coat of Arms

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O'leary Coat of Arms Meaning

O'leary Name Origin & History

Variations of this name are: O'Learie, Leary, Learie.

We have several coat of arms design(s) for the name O'leary. Click on the thumbnails to view each design.

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O'leary Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the O’Leary blazon are the talbot, boar and lizard. The three main tinctures (colors) are vert, argent and gules .

The deep green colour that is so often observed in heraldry is more properly known as vert. According to Wade, the use of this colour signifies “Hope and Joy”, but may also represent, rather delightfully, “Loyalty in Love” 1The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36. It has other names also, the French call it sinople, perhaps after a town in Asia Minor from where the best green die materials could be found 2A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vert. More fanciful heralds liked to associate it with the planet venus and the precious stone emerald 3Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27. More strangely, there is some evidence that the term prasin was anciently used, being the Greek for the vegetable we call the Leek!

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) 4Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.

Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”6The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 7Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.8A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P77.

Many breeds of dog appear in coats of arms, reflecting their status as man’s closet companion. The talbot is a hunting dog akin to a terrier, and usually illustrated in a lifelike style and eager pose. 9A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Dog In common with the other heraldic dogs, Wade suggests that their presence should suggest “courage, vigilance and loyal fidelity”. 10The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P68 Others might say we need look no further than a pleasure in the hunt and the affection for this sturdy breed.

In the middle ages, the wild boar, a far more fearsome creature than its domesticated relative, the pig was a much more commonly seen animal than today. It was also known as a sanglier. 11Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 72 It can appear in many of the same poses that we see for the lion, but has its own (easily imagined!) position known as enraged! 12A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Boar We should not be surprised then that this “fierce combatant” is said to be associated with the warrior. 13The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P67

In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? Nevertheless, real animals 14A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191 are perhaps one of the most common sights on coats of arms, especially animals of European origin. The lizard Is a typical example of these.

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Origin, Meaning and Family History of the O'leary Name

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Dromcar, co. Cork; Fun. Ent. Ulster's Office, 1637, Donogh O’Leary, gent.). Per fess ar. and vert, in chief a talbot pass. gu. and in base a boar pass. of the first. Crest—An arm erect couped below the elbow, vested az. the hand holding a sword impaling an evet or lizard all ppr.
"2) Motto—Laidir ise lear Righ (Strong is the King of the Sea, or Learie is powerful). Another Motto—Fortis undis et armis. Ar. a lion pass. in base gu. in chief a ship of three masts sa. sails set ppr. from the stern the flag of St. George flotant. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet or, an arm
in armour embowed, holding a sword ppr. pommel and hilt gold."
3) (Moorton, co. Stafford). Ar. a chev. gu. betw. three square buckles sa. tongues paleways.
4) (Dromcar, co. Cork; Fun. Ent. Ulster's Office, 1637, Donogh O’Leary, gent.). Per fess ar. and vert, in chief a talbot pass. gu. and in base a boar pass. of the first. Crest—An arm erect couped below the elbow, vested az. the hand holding a sword impaling an evet or lizard all ppr.

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References   [ + ]

1. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
2. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Vert
3. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
4. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
5. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
6. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
7. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
8. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P77
9. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Dog
10. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P68
11. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 72
12. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Boar
13. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P67
14. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P191