History Of The Claddagh Ring

Posted in Claddagh Ring on February 3, 2020.

The claddagh ring is an iconic design – as seen worn by Bono, Walt Disney, Julia Roberts, Jim Morrison and Liam Gallagher, to name a few. The ring is made up of two hands holding a heart wearing a crown. The phrase “Let Love and Friendship reign” sums up the design’s message: the hands are for friendship, the heart for love and the crown for loyalty. It was historically used as a wedding ring by a small area for over four hundred years. But what’s the history of this Irish design that is now worn by many people on and off the island?

Medium Gia Claddagh Ring

The claddagh ring design is said to have originated in a fishing village, Claddagh, in county Galway on the west coast. The story goes that Richard Joyce, born around 1660, was travelling to the West Indies when he was captured and sold as a slave to a goldsmith who trained him. He was released from slavery in 1689 and he returned to Galway and worked as a goldsmith there. The claddagh ring design was originally his. With time, many more versions of the ring have been created, some of which can be found in our store and online shop.

The Claddagh Ring

Aside from the ring’s unique history and design, the way it is traditionally worn is also of significance. If the ring is worn with the crown pointing towards the finger nail (thus the heart to one’s heart), it means they are in love or married. Wearing the ring with the heart pointed towards the finger nail means they are single or looking for love. However, not everyone who wears a claddagh ring knows this tradition, so don’t always believe it to be true!

In store we have a copy of The Claddagh Ring by Malachy McCourt, a great read on the history of the claddagh if you’re interested. As mentioned, we also have numerous claddagh designs, not just as rings but pendants and more too. We are always happy to custom make and fit jewellery to your liking, if you contact us in store, online or over the phone. We hope you enjoyed this little segment of Irish history.