The Civic Regalia
The Civic Regalia of Dublin is a unique collection of ancient and precious artefacts which form the insignia of the Office of the Lord Mayor of Dublin.
Historically the Mayoralty was traditionally surrounded by an elaborate and distinguished ceremony, in which the Regalia played a significant part. Today this ceremony follows a simpler format which is more suitable to the modern age. However the Regalia is still used on occasions of Civic importance, such as the conferring of the Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin. The Regalia reflects the dignity and stature of this office, which has a history spanning more than seven centuries.
The Civic Regalia includes:
Lord Mayor’s State Coach (The State Coach of the Lord Mayor of Dublin)
The Lord Mayor's Coach was built in 1789 by William Whitton, of Dominick Street, and made its first appearance on the streets of Dublin on 4 November 1791 in an annual event to mark the birthday of William III. The elaborately decorated coach far exceeded its original budget and was completed for a total cost of £2,690 13s 5d. The Coach was used for ceremonial occasions up until 1932 when, due to its poor condition, it was placed in storage. Following expert restoration, the Coach returned to public life in 1976 and is a feature of Dublin’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.
The Great Dublin Civic Sword
Dublin's Great Civic Sword was originally made for Henry Bolingbroke during the 1390s and was used by him before becoming Henry IV of England in 1399. It is attributed to the London goldsmith Herman van Cleve and was presented to the city of Dublin around the year 1410. The scabbard, by the Dublin silversmith William Drayton, was made during the 1960s but incorporates earlier decorative mounts, including some from the original scabbard. The Great Sword has been in ceremonial use for nearly 600 years and is featured during the conferring of the Honorary Freedom of Dublin.
The Lesser Dublin Civic Sword
The Lesser Sword was made in the late 16th century for use in riding the franchises, a circuit of the municipal boundaries made on horse back which took place once every three years. The cross on the lesser sword was made in 1608 by James Bee and this is the earliest documented example of Dublin silver in existence.
The Great Mace of Dublin
The Great Mace was made in 1665 in the workshop of Sir Daniel Bellingham, who was the first Lord Mayor of Dublin, and was subsequently purchased from him by the Dublin City Assembly. It is in silver-gilt enclosing a wooden shaft and is elaborately decorated. The head was re-fashioned in 1717 by Dublin silversmith Thomas Bolton to include the arms and symbols of George I, the first Hanoverian monarch.
Lord Mayor’s Great Chain of Office
The Lord Mayor’s gold chain of office was presented by King William III (William of Orange) to the City of Dublin in 1698. The Chain is composed of decorative links including the Tudor rose, a harp, a trefoil shaped knot and the letter S (thought to stand for Seneschal or Steward)
Deputy Lord Mayor’s Chain
The deputy lord mayor assumes the role of Lord Mayor in his/her absence and is also a member of Dublin City Council. The first recorded reference to a deputy is noted in 1309 (when John Le Decer deputized for Robert of Nottingham). More recently the role of deputy lord mayor has expanded and a specific chain of office was created in 1990 and presented to the city by Guinness & Co, The chain, by Irish silversmith Michael Hilliar is a modern design showing the history of the city.
Pieces from the Civic Regalia collection are on display at the Story of the Capital Exhibition in City Hall.