The depiction of the dove’s head represents St. Colmcille, known as the “Dove of the Church”. (Notice that our parish church, named after him, is designed in the shape of a dove.)
The olive branch in the dove’s beak reminds us of Colmcille’s last recorded words to his community, words which have universal and timeless application: “ut inter vos mutuam fictam habeatis cum pace” – “that you may have among yourselves mutual charity and peace”.
The depiction of the water represents St Colmcille’s Well (at the top end of the Ballycullen Road as you near Orlagh retreat centre). The presence of this Holy Well – where legend has it Colmcille stopped off on his way to Glendalough – is the reason our parish is named after Colmcille. Every year, to mark St. Colmcille’s Feastday (June 9th) we walk there on pilgrimage. The water depiction also suggests the Springs of Carmel and the waters of life which flow from Christ, in whose mission we share through baptism.
Carmelite Friars have been serving Knocklyon Parish since its establishment in 1974, so the colour brown (the colour of the Carmelite habit) and the depiction of the Mountain and the Stars reflects this as well as the fact that as a parish community we are also members of the wider Carmelite family. The Mountain in every Carmelite crest represents Mount Carmel in Israel, home of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, where the Carmelite story began in the dawning years of the 13th Century.
There have been several interpretations of the stars throughout the centuries, but the most common one sees the lower white star as a representation of Elijah, in whose spirit Carmelites have always endeavoured to live, while the two black stars above it represent the Lord Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whose service Carmelites are dedicated.