An original symbol of the "Fisher
Kings"of the Galway town of Claddagh, Ireland,
(pronounced cladda) was first fashioned into the
traditional ring back in the 17th Century during the reign of
Legend has it that an Irish young man, Richard
Joyce, bound for the West Indian slave plantations - no doubt
the Irish Caribbean island of Montserrat - was kidnapped
himself in rough seas by a band of Mediterranean pirates and
sold to a Moorish goldsmith who over the many long years of
his exile helped him perfect the skills of a master craftsman.
When in 1689 King William III negotiated the return of the
slaves, Joyce returned to Galway - despite, it said, the
Moor's offer of the daughter's hand in marriage and a princely
dowry of half of all his wealth.
Back in Ireland a young women had never stopped faithful
waiting for her true love to return. Upon which time when he
presented her with the now famous Claddagh gold ring - a
symbol of their enduring love. Two hands to represent their
friendship, the crown to signify their loyalty and lasting
fidelity, and the the heart to symbolise their eternal
love for each other. They soon married, never to be separated again.
The traditional wedding ring of the Irish
since the 17th Century, the Claddagh ring is worn by people
all over the world as a universal symbol of love, loyalty,
friendship and fidelity.
Traditionally handed down from mother to daughter the
Claddagh ring has also become a symbol of our ties with the
past and generations gone by. Irish people remember the
many many people who had to leave Ireland with nothing
but their lives during the Great Famine of the 19th Century -
many leaving from Cork harbour to make the long voyage across
the Atlantic to America. The gold Claddagh ring was to become
for many the only enduring link with their home country and
practically their only savings and family inheritance.
Further reflecting the troubled history of Ireland itself, a
hundred years ago the Fenian ring, with two hands and two
hearts, was distinguishing by its lack of a crown to represent
the struggle for Republican Ireland - however the
traditional Claddagh ring has always remaining the Irish
standard proudly wearing the crown as a symbol of loyalty, a
remembrance of our ancient Irish Kingdoms.
Notable wearers of the Claddagh ring have included Queen
Alexandria and King Edward VII of Britain and Queen Victoria
of Britain and Ireland as it was then - a woman for whom the
streets of Dublin where lined with cheering people. And in the
little principality of Monaco, the Claddagh tradition lives on
in the Royal family of Monaco and the memory of the beautiful
Irish princess - Princess Grace of Monaco.
The Claddagh ring is worn by people all over
the world as a symbol of love, loyalty, friendship and
Worn on the right hand, with crown and heart facing out, the
ring tells that the wearer's heart is yet to be won. While
under love's spell it is worn with heart and crown facing
Wearing the ring on the left hand, with the crown and heart
facing inwards, signifies that your love has been requited.
The hands are there for friendship, the heart is there for
love. For loyalty throughout the year, the crown is raised
the Claddagh Story
Worn on the right hand, with crown and heart
facing out, the ring tells that the wearer's heart is yet to
be won. While under love's spell it is worn with heart and
crown facing inwards. Wearing the ring on the left hand, with
the crown and heart facing inwards, signifies that your love
has been requited.
"in friendship: on the right hand, with
the point of the heart towards the fingertip. engagement: on
the right hand, with heart pointing to the wrist. marriage:
on the left hand, with heart pointing to the wrist. Claddagh
rings are used as wedding rings especially in Connacht."
The hands are there for friendship, the
heart is there for love. For loyalty throughout the year, the
crown is raised above.
to Claddagh Rings