The Irish Claddagh Ring
The Claddagh ring began as a symbol for love in Ireland. The origin of the ring and the romantic ideals represented make the ring a popular choice for those in love all across the world.
The Claddagh ring is the most well-known symbol for love in Ireland. It has been the traditional wedding ring of the Irish since the 17th century. You may have seen the popular ring which is now worn across the world. It has become a universal symbol of love, loyalty, friendship, and fidelity.
The ring is made up of two hands
holding a heart that wears a crown. The heart is worn for love, the
hands are worn for friendship, and the crown is worn for loyalty and
The phrase associated with the giving
of the ring is: "With my hands I give you my heart, and crown it
with my love."
The marital status of the person
wearing the Irish Claddagh ring is shown by the way it is worn. When
it is worn on the right hand with the crown and heart facing outward
and away from the body, the wearer's heart is yet to be won. When it
is worn on the right hand with the heart and crown facing inward, the
wearer is "under love's spell"; they are in a relationship.
When the ring is worn on the left hand with the crown and heart
facing outward away from the body, the wearer is engaged. When the
ring is worn on the left hand facing inward, the person's heart is
happily taken in marriage.
The history of the Claddagh ring begins
in a small fishing village outside Galway in western Ireland. One
legend has it that the town of Claddagh developed the ring to be worn
by the fishermen and sailors so they could be identified in case of
shipwreck or other fatal accident.
Another version of the Claddagh ring's
origin is a story about the sixteenth century philanthropist named
Margaret Joyce. She inherited money from her first husband and used
it to build bridges from Galway to Sligo in Ireland. Because of
Margaret's generosity, an eagle flew over and dropped the original
Claddagh ring into her lap.
The most romantic Claddagh ring story
is that Richard Joyce from Claddagh was captured by pirates on his
way to the West Indies. He was taken into slavery and worked as a
goldsmith. He became a master at the trade and made a ring for the
woman he loved back in County Galway. When William III became king of
England, he released Joyce and others from slavery. When Richard
Joyce went home, he found that the woman he loved was still waiting
for him. They married and she wore the Claddagh ring as her wedding
The Claddagh ring left Ireland on the
hands of many who emigrated during the Irish famine. The rings were
kept as heirlooms and were passed with pride from mother to daughter
to use as Irish wedding rings.
There are many variations of the
Claddagh ring today. Diamonds, emeralds, and other precious stones
are inlaid in many beautiful combinations.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Learn about more Irish wedding traditions for your wedding in Ireland or around the world by visiting the author's website at http://www.majestic-castles-in-ireland.com