The Office of Arms was, and in some senses still is, the oldest office of state in Ireland. Established in 1552 as the Office of Ulster King of Arms, for almost 400 years it granted coats of arms to individuals, places and organisations and it stage-managed the pomp and ceremony of the viceregal court at Dublin Castle. In 1943, it became the last office to be handed over by the British government to the Irish state. Reconstituted as the Genealogical Office (though still referred to as the Office of Arms for many years after), it continues its centuries-old heraldic work to this day, as part of the National Library of Ireland.
For 150 years, from 1831 until 1981, the Office Arms was located at Dublin Castle, and this exhibition aims to explore its peculiar yet fascinating history during that time. It will look at the glamourous world the Office superintended at the Viceregal Court; the theft of the Irish Crown Jewels; its role in Ireland, north and south, after 1922; and the re-emergence of the Office as a diplomatic tool of the State from 1943 to 1981.
The exhibition is curated by William Derham.