A brief history of the choir and the coat of arms
Wexford Male Voice Choir was founded by Dr. George Hadden in 1941 and is now believed to be the longest established Male Voice Choir in Ireland. Hundreds of Wexford men have passed through its’ ranks since then and the Choir has continued to grow and develop over the years, mainly due to the commitment of its members and the support of the people of Wexford.
During its first fifty years the Choir was mainly nomadic, moving from one rehearsal room to another, never having a place to call ‘home’. However, in 1991, the Committee of the day had the foresight and courage to purchase what was then known as ‘The Royal British Legion Hall’ in Westgate, and in 2005, we became the proud owners of the hall, now renamed ‘Wexford Male Voice Choir Hall’. The premises has been completely renovated with the installation of a tiered rostrum, a new floor, a new piano, new kitchen and toilet facilities etc. making it one of the finest rehearsal rooms in town.
Over the years the Choir has performed in Concerts and Competitions all over Ireland, as well as in England and Wales. In 2001 we had the privilege of singing in Boston, U.S.A. and in March 2002 the Choir was honoured to sing at the first ‘Official’ St. Patrick’s Day Mass in Westminster Cathedral, London and then to perform at a Concert in Trafalgar Square, that afternoon, to an audience of over 50,000. The enormity of that occasion could only be experienced by being there!
Many people over the years have played a major part in ensuring that the Choir would achieve this success, people such as the late John Clancy and his son, Nicky, and Ger Lawlor, all of whom served as Musical Directors for many years. Their hard work and dedication is continued today under the Directorship of Greg Currid, who with the help and cooperation of our Accompanist, Fiona Kelly, has endeavoured to bring the Choir to new heights.
Many men have served on the Choir Committees down through the years, and their hard work and dedication is heartily acknowledged. Without their hard work, foresight and dedication the current Choir would surely not enjoy the success that it so obviously does.
Coat of Arms
The Wexford Coat of Arms consists of three burning ships with the motto “Per Aquam et Ignem”. The Genealogical Office, Dublin Castle, has no record of a formal grant of the Arms but it was registered in that office at the time of the 1618 Heraldic Visitation. The records of the Visitation appear to show that the Arms were in existence before that time. However, the statement contained in the Fox-Davies Book of Public Arms, London 1915, an entry which is in other respects evidently inaccurate, states:
“Granted by Molyneux, Ulster King of Arms, and recorded in the Visitation of Wexford”. The motto translates as “through water and fire”.
Regarding the three burning ships, there are different theories as to their significance:
1. Three ships which were being built in the dockyard at Kaat’s Strand were set alight by a marauding party.
2. A marauding party left three ships at anchor in Wexford Bay and local inhabitants set them alight.