The Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring, which represents love, loyalty, and friendship. Love is represented by the heart, loyalty is represented by the crown and friendship is represented by the touching hands. It is originally from the Irish fishing town of Claddagh, located outside the old walls of Galway, which is now incorporated into the city of Galway.
One of the legends surrounding the Claddagh Ring, and there are many, is that Richard Joyce who was a silversmith invented the Claddagh ring around 1700. Legend has it that he was captured and sold as a slave to a goldsmith who taught him his craft. It is believed that after 14 years in slavery he was released and he returned to his native Galway. Upon he return Claddagh, it is said that he gave his wife a Claddagh ring, as a representation of there love, loyalty and friendship.
The Claddagh ring is very distinctive and famous. It has two hands clasping a heart surrounded by a crown. A Fenian Claddagh is different, as it does not have a crown, as they would not believe in wearing something with the representation of a crown. The Claddagh ring is sometimes passed down through generations.
Here are the 4 Way a Claddagh Ring should be worn:
- If the ring is worn on the right hand with the heart pointing away from the wearer’s wrist, the wearer is looking for a relationship.
- If the ring is worn on the right hand with the heart pointing towards the wrist the wearer is in a relationship.
- If the ring is worn on the left hand with the heart pointing towards fingers the wearer is engaged.
- If the ring is worn on the left hand with the heart pointing towards the wrist the wearer is married.
Many people of Irish decent wear a Claddagh ring as it symbolizes their Irish heritage and gives them a link to their Irish ancestors. Many of our emigrants wear them as it is easily recognizable and identifies their Irish connections. Today there are many types of Claddagh rings. Some are engagement ring set with diamonds as well as other precious gems, emeralds are very popular and others are wedding rings.
Many famous people have been known to own Claddagh rings.
In Buffy the Vampire, Angel (David Boreanaz) gave Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) a gift of a Claddagh ring and it was a constant theme throughout the Buffy and Angel romance in the popular TV Series.
Walt Disney owned one and is wearing one on the statue of himself in Disneyland. John F Kennedy and his wife Jackie were presented with a pair on Claddagh rings when the visited Ireland in 1963.
Princess Grace of Monaco and Prince Rainier were presented with Claddagh rings as was Bill Clinton and Ronald Regan.
John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Bing Crosby, and Gabriel Byrne and Bono also wore Claddagh Rings.