Official Insignia

Official Insignia

The gold collar of S.S. worn by the Lord Mayors of Cork, is a very fine specimen of Civic insignia, the links of the S.S. joined alternately by links of looped gold and enamelled cinquefoils fifty-one links in all, terminating in a gold portcullis. Attached to the chain is a medallion bearing on the obverse the City Arms, and on the reverse the following inscription:

"Cork, 9th June, 1787. The Right Worshipful Samuel Rowland, Esq., Mayor, was publicly invested by the Common Speaker, on behalf of the Commons, in open Court of D'Oyer Hundred with the Gold Chain, and immediately after the Mayor conferred the like Honor on the High Sheriffs, and lastly the Ceremony of investing the Mayor with this Pendant and Collar of S.S. was performed by a Deputation from the Council."

The Cork Corporation possesses four maces, alike in form and workmanship, but all varying in size; in extreme length ranging from 36 inches to 33 ins., and to the top of the cresting, between 28 and 25 ins., the difference being represented by the bands forming the crown with the orb and cross on top. These bands not being depressed, as usual, at their junction under the orb, give these maces an appearance of exceptional height, and they are peculiar also in other respects to be noticed presently. The stems have three almost spherical knops. One is under each head, without any intervening scrolls or brackets. The lowest forms the base, with the addition of a splayed seal-shaped ending on the flat of which the arms of Cork City are engraved, this is very usual in English maces. The third knop divides the stem into equal portions. Each head is surmounted by a light crestwork formed exclusively of fleurs-de-lis of which there are twenty-four. From these spring the bands - beaded and scalloped - which carry the orb and cross as above referred to. The sides of each head are unusually straight. Engraved perpendicular lines divide the heads into four spaces and between these lines are inscribed the words: 

John Baldwin, Esqr., Mayor Horatio Towsend, Christopher Carlton Esqrs., Shers. 1738.

In the intervening spaces are engraved:

The Royal Arms, within the Garter, but without supporters, under G.I.I.R., indicating the reign of George II. (1727-60);
The St. George Cross (for England);
The Harp (for Ireland);
The Arms of Cork City.

It will be noticed that no Thistle is used for Scotland, and that England is represented neither by the usual rose nor the royal Lions, but by the Cross of St. George which, with the Harp for Ireland, served during the Commonwealth period as the "State Arms".

Possibly the inscriptions and the royal arms were of later date. The latter also appear on the flat of the heads under the crowns. In 1970 the Esso Petroleum Co. (Ireland) Ltd., presented the Corporation with a replica of the mace of the Cork Guilds.

The original Mace was made in 1696 by a Cork goldsmith, Robert Goble with chasing by a Flemish immigrant goldsmith, Charles Begheagle. The mace is 36 inches long with an eight sided head, each face bearing the arms of a craft in the following order; goldsmiths, pewters, founders, saddlers, glazier and glass founders, merchant tailors, tin plates maker and tobacco pipe makers. The stem has a central knob on which four figures representing the cardinal virtues - Temperance, Justice, Fortitude and Prudence are carved. The Arms of Cork appear on the base and the Royal Arms of William and Mary on the top. The replica is the work of Irish Craftsmen and was carried out by Royal Irish, Dublin.

In considering the protocol, Council decided that an insignia be provided for general use for the Lord Mayor and that the Gold Collar be worn only on formal occasions. In 1976 the Corporation commissioned a firm of local silversmiths to make a silver collar for general use by the Lord Mayor.

The Sterling Silver Chain of Office consists of twenty S.S. links and ten knot links with the Cork Arms joined to the collar by a portcullis. In 1961, the Cork Jewellers' Association presented to the Corporation a Gold Medallion to be worn by Lady Mayoresses.