The Claddagh symbol is Ireland’s universal representation of love, friendship and loyalty. The origins of the Claddagh Ring can be traced back to the small fishing town of Claddagh, Co. Galway. Irish folklore recounts that in 1675, a local seafarer by the name of Richard Joyce was captured by pirates and sold as a slave to a Moorish goldsmith.
Torn away from his lover, Joyce was trained in the art and served his master for fourteen years. Upon his eventual release in 1689, Joyce returned to Galway, hoping to find his true love still waiting for him. Whilst enslaved, he fashioned what we now know as the Claddagh Ring as a gift specifically for her.
The Irish Claddagh ring, which consists of two hands representing friendship, a heart to symbolize love and a crown for loyalty has since become one of the most distinguished expressions of love in Ireland and beyond. The meaning behind this ring is to ‘Let Love and Friendship reign’ which is a unique touch and blessing as a wedding ring which has been used by a small community of people over the last four hundred years.
How to wear a Claddagh Ring.
The Claddagh Ring is not, however, only a token of one’s love or loyalty. It can also be used to decipher or broadcast one’s relationship status; depending on which direction the heart points and on which hand it is worn. Thus, knowing how to wear a claddagh ring is key:
- Single: wear on the right hand with the heart pointing outward.
- Engaged: wear on the right hand with the heart pointing inward.
- Married: wear on the left hand with the heart pointing inward.
Traditionally, the ring was worn by the women of the Claddagh which was passed down from mother to daughter from generation to generation on her wedding day. However, the Claddagh Ring along with is still as popular in Ireland in 2020 and continues to be as popular as ever.