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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 lasting fidelity.

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 band.

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.

You may want to show your Irish heritage or your appreciation of the ideals of love, loyalty, friendshipScience Articles, and fidelity by proudly joining those who wear the Irish Claddagh ring.

Article Tags: Irish Claddagh Ring, Irish Claddagh, Claddagh Ring

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Learn about more Irish wedding traditions for your wedding in Ireland or around the world by visiting the author's website at

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