In 1855 Dungarvan adopted the Towns Improvement Act and in 1863 the Town Commissioners obtained the Dungarvan Harbour, Markets and Improvements Acts. The Town Commissioners then being constituted a Corporate body were bound to provide a seal and arms.
A search was carried out to find the old seal and arms in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Lismore, Youghal etc., however this failed to discover the missing items.
A Mr. William Williams a noted Irish scholar and antiquarian from Dungarvan designed a new seal and arms in 1863 which were adopted by the Town Commissioners.
The following is William's own explanation for the designs written in 1867.
'The central group of figures on the seal represents the old National Feis or Parliament, which was held at Tara, presided over by the Árd Rí, attended by the Provincial Kings and nobles. At a large table in the centre are seated the Brehons examining and writing on vellum rolls . . . the inscription reads 'Seal of the Common Council of Dungarvan.The Arms
The castles of the shield are . . . portraits of existing structures, as they appeared about a century since. That to the left is the Dun or castle of Abbeyside. .. That to the right represents a wing of the old.. Dungarvan castle. Between the castles is seen a ship in full sail approaching the harbour. . . Our supporters are two ancient Irish warriors wearing the National costume and armed with the National weapons of other days.
Our crest, an anchor and dolphin entwined, and our motto, taken in its literal sense, are all indicative of the Maritime situation of the town. Our motto :- 'Ni Maraide Go Stiurtoir'- 'Not a Mariner Till a Steersman' is intended to teach an important moral lesson. Individually we are admonished, such that we make ourselves acquainted with the duties of our various callings, in order that we may be able to direct our own affairs and collectively, that, if we desire to see the town satisfactorily governed, we must grasp the reins with our own hand'
Note : The images of Dungarvan and Abbeyside castles used by Williams in his design were taken from an engraving in Charles Smith's History of Waterford City and County 1746.
Author: Willie Fraher