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What is an Irish Claddagh Ring?

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What is an Irish Claddagh Ring?

What is an Irish Claddagh Ring? – An Irish Claddagh Ring is a traditional Irish symbol of love, loyalty and friendship. It’s often given as a sign of commitment in relationships or to celebrate special occasions, such as anniversaries. The design consists of two hands joined together at the wrists holding a heart with a crown on top, traditionally made from gold or silver. The hands represent friendship, the heart represents love and the crown loyalty.

The ring is often worn with the point of the heart facing inwards to symbolize that the wearer is taken, or outwards to show they are single and looking for love. Claddagh Rings have been given as gifts since at least 1700, when they were first made by a fisherman from the Irish village of Claddagh. They have since become a popular symbol of Irish heritage, worn all over the world to celebrate love, loyalty and friendship.

What is an Irish Claddagh Ring

Claddagh Rings have taken on many different forms over the centuries, with some featuring gemstones or birthstones in place of the heart or crown. Many couples also engrave their initials or the date of their wedding on the inside of the ring. The iconic symbol is a timeless reminder of love, loyalty and friendship that will last for generations. Whether given as a gift or worn as a personal statement, an Irish Claddagh Ring is sure to bring joy to whoever wears it.

No matter where you are in the world, an Irish Claddagh Ring makes a beautiful and meaningful gift. It’s the perfect way to express your love, loyalty and friendship for someone special. So if you’re looking for a unique and timeless way to show someone how much you care, why not give them the gift of an Irish Claddagh Ring?

The Story of The Irish Claddagh Ring

Who better to tell us the real story of the Irish Claddagh ring than  Mr. Leonard of the National Claddagh school. In this video he tells a very special Galway story that comes right back to our very own Claddagh: an exciting tale of pirates, slavery, friendship, love, loyalty… and the world’s very first Claddagh Ring.

It is thought that the Claddagh ring may have originated from the clasped hand design of the ancient Greek and Roman fede rings named for the Italian “mani in fede” or “hands clasped in loyalty” to express solidarity. 

Afte the fall of the Roman Empire they grew out of fashion until the Middle Ages when they were known as faith rings.  During the  Renaissance Claddagh rings became a symbol of marriage. Today the Claddagh ring represents Irish identity when used as a wedding ring.

How did the Claddagh ring originate?

There are many tales on how the Claddagh originated , the most well-known involving pirates. In a small fishing village called Claddagh, now a part of Galway, Ireland, the local legend says the ring was first created as a love token by  Richard Joyce, a local who was captured by Algerian pirates to be a slave in Morocco. 

According to the story, Joyce worked for a Moorish goldsmith and became an accomplished goldsmith himself. In 1689 he was released and reunited with his love in Claddagh. 

He presented her with a ring he had made while in captivity, which she wore as her wedding ring. 

The symbols on her ring are the same as those today: two hands (friendship) clasping a heart (love), capped with a crown (loyalty).

For centuries couples have exchanged the famous Claddagh ring as an engagement or wedding ring.  The three beautiful symbols make the perfect rings to offer your loved one. The symbols for love, loyalty & friendship are represented in the heart, the crown, and the hands.

The Claddagh is a perfect reminder of the breadth of our admiration of Ireland – the history of its village, the legend of its goldsmith, the allure of the name itself. But it is the emotional perfection of the Claddagh symbol that has earned our endearment and inspired us to immortalize it in jewelry, art and so much more.

All you need is love…loyalty and friendship.   

And of course, your own ring..

Ready for that trip to Ireland? Start planning here!


Last updated May 29, 2023


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