The earldom of Kildare was created in 1316 by King Edward II. The coat of arms is argent a saltire gules (a red saltire on a white shield). It is very similar to that of the Geraldines earls of Desmond, except the Kildares have an ape as a crest: both the Geraldines of Kildare and Desmond have the legend of how an ape abducted an infant heir.
The historian of the family, wrote the following: ‘The ancient war-cry of the Geraldines of Kildare was “Crom-a-boo”, and that of the Desmond branch “Shanid-a-boo”. “A buaid”, the Irish for “to victory”, was the usual termination of the war-cries in Ireland, and was added to the distinctive watchword of each tribe. Crom (Croom) and Shanid were two castles, about sixteen miles apart, in the Co. Limerick, the ruins of which still remain. They belonged to the two principal branches of the Geraldines, and being on the borders of the O’Briens’ country and the constant object of attack, “Crom-a-boo” or “Shanid-a-boo” was shouted in opposition to the “Lamhlaider-a-boo”, “the strong hand to victory” of the O’Briens. In 1495, an Act 10 Henry VII. C. 20 was passed “to abolish the words Crom-a-boo and Butler-a-boo”.’
The Marquis of Kildare, The Earls of Kildare and their Ancestors, 1858, p. 20.