At the end of the last century there were more than ten times the number of Mahoney's than O'Mahony's in Ireland, the greater majority of both being in the County Cork and the remainder in County Kerry. The ancient territory of their ancestors, the sept of O'Mathghamhna were in the barony of Kinalmeaky, County Cork. One of those who claimed descent from Brian, King of Munster, was Count Daniel O'Mahony (died in 1714) a Jacobite who left Ireland in 1692, and entered the service of Spain and France. He was knighted by the pretender James III and ennobles by Louis XIV of France. His son Demetrius (Dermot) was the Spanish ambassador to Austria. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The arms were recorded at Dunloe Castle, County Kerry in the year 1792. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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