The Legends And Meaning Of The Irish Claddagh Ring

The Claddagh ring is a unique-looking piece of jewellery that carries quite an interesting history. 

This ring is a gold or silver band that features two hands clasping a crowned heart (the crown is above the heart). These elements are important because they symbolize a collection of pure feelings that help support a long and solid relationship. As such, the hands represent friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown is there to highlight loyalty.

In summary, the ring symbolizes commitment and can be offered to a close friend (who you love and are loyal to) or to a significant other as an engagement or even wedding ring.  

The History of the Claddagh Ring

While no one knows when exactly this ring came to be, there are lots of stories connected to it. Most of these stories are quite fantastic and (oddly) involve pirates, but the one that’s commonly accepted is the story of Richard Joyce, a local fisherman from Claddagh who was enslaved in Morocco to work as a goldsmith. When he was released, he returned to his village, looking for his long-lost love, and to show his affection and loyalty, he created what today is known as the Claddagh ring.

Now, we don’t know whether there is some truth to the story, but we do know that Claddagh Irish wedding rings are extremely popular and people who know the symbolism really appreciate it. 

How to Wear a Claddagh Ring

Whether stylized or designed to actually depict the three elements, this ring is quite powerful as it carries the symbol of love and unity. Furthermore, it can be used to express your relationship status to the world (for those people who don’t follow you on social media, that is). 

According to historians and jewellers, this ring can specify if you are in a long term relationship or not. Here’s how to wear it, depending on your relationship status:

  • Right hand & the point of the heart faces inwards (towards the hand) – the wearer is in a committed relationship and they are in love (since the heart is pointing at the wearer, it means they have already given theirs)
  • Right hand & the point of the heart outwards (away from the hand) – the wearer is not in a relationship and they are seeking a partner (they are willing to have their heart stolen)
  • Left hand & the heart points away from the hand – the wearer is engaged or they already found their lifelong partner
  • Left hand & the heart points towards the hand – the wearer is married 

Of course, not everyone knows the meaning behind the different ways of wearing a Claddagh ring, but if you have one, it would be quite fun to see if others get the idea. 

Wrap Up

In summary, this piece of jewellery is more than just a ring – it is a way to express strong feelings and a desire to commit (whether to a partner or a friend). As such, it can make for a nice Valentine’s gift or a thoughtful token of your appreciation for another person.  

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