Ireland is a land with multitudes of meaningful symbols, but none quite hit the mark as strongly as the Claddagh.
Most commonly worn in the form of a Claddagh Ring, this powerful symbol can be found across the Emerald Isle.
“A gift of love, Crafted in Ireland”
The whisper of romance lingers within every Claddagh. A gift of love, crafted in Ireland, it echoes a tale of devotion retold over the centuries.
Once upon a time, so the story goes, a young sailor was captured and sold into slavery. Far from his native land, he held the memory of his sweetheart deep in his heart. He never forgot her.
Years later, on his safe return to Galway his gift to her was a Claddagh ring. Forged with the skills he learned during his imprisonment, it was a token of his enduring love.
The Origin of the Claddagh
The design and customs associated with the Claddagh originated in the Irish fishing village of Claddagh, located just outside the old city walls of Galway, now part of Galway City. The Claddagh’s distinctive design features two hands clasping a heart, and usually surmounted by a crown.
Find out more about the origin of the Claddagh ring here.
The Meaning of the Claddagh Explained
The elements of this symbol are often said to correspond to the qualities of love (the heart), friendship (the hands), and loyalty (the crown). Claddagh rings are often used as friendship rings but are most commonly used as engagement/wedding rings. The Claddagh is handed down mother-to-daughter or grandmother-to-granddaughter.
But that’s not all…
Wearing a Claddagh Ring 101
There are many meanings to how the wearer wears the Claddagh ring and only those who know or studied the history of the Claddagh will know the following:
- On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips: the wearer is single and may be looking for love.
- On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist: the wearer is in a relationship.
- On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips: the wearer is engaged.
- On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist: the wearer is married.
“With these hands I give you my heart and I crown it with my love”
The Claddagh holds the memory of true love that can last forever.
You can add your own chapter to the story even now by how you wear it. So remember – On your right hand with its heart facing outwards, it shows that your heart is not yet taken. Turn its heart inwards and you’ll let admirers know that love is a possibility. But if you wear it on your left hand, with its heart turned inwards towards your own, there can be no doubt. It tells the world: two hearts have joined together forever. Wear it and be part of a never-ending love story, or gift it to your daughter or granddaughter and follow this great Irish tradition.