The Claddagh Ring is a traditional Irish ring that represents love, loyalty, and friendship (the hands represent friendship; the heart represents love; and the crown represents loyalty).
The Claddagh ring can be traced back to Galway since 1700 however it was not called the Claddagh ring until after the 1830’s.
Legend has it that the origins of the ring are that Richard Joyce was captured and enslaved by Algerian Corsairs while on en route to the West Indies. He was sold into slavery where he was taught how to craft by a Moorish goldsmith. After 14 years he was released as King William III sent an ambassador to Algeria to demand realise of all British slaves. Richard Joyce returned to Galway with the ring he had made whilst in slavery, he gave it to his sweetheart whom he married. He went on to become a goldsmith and became very successful where he would craft the Claddagh and mark them. Rumour has it that the earliest Claddagh rings bare his mark
Throughout the ages it has become a symbol of Irish culture and each generation has its own meaning for the Claddagh. At first the Claddagh meant Love, Loyalty and Friendship but through the ages the meaning has changed to Mother, Daughter and Grandmother. Some religious groups believe that the Claddagh ring means, Father, Son and Holy Trinity.
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
This is due to the Claddagh ring being used as a secret engagement ring. When your sweetheart was ready to propose he would propose with the Claddagh ring and many people would not know that you were engaged but that did not matter because you knew.
“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. 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. If you’re looking for some examples of Claddagh Rings then view our rangeat Carrolls Irish Gifts.