The Claddagh symbol is one of the most popular Irish symbols today. It represents friendship, love, and loyalty. Both men and women wear this symbol.
The heart of the claddagh symbolizes love, the hands mean friendship, and the crown represents loyalty. There are a few different stories that try to explain the creation of this symbol.
One story is of Robert Joyce, an Irish fisherman, who traveled to the West Indies. As the story goes, he was kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery. As a slave, he worked for a goldsmith. Even though he was so far from home, he always remembered the woman he loved, Margaret. It was because of this love that he created the claddagh ring. When he was freed and returned home, he gave the ring to his love. They lived happily together from then on. Another story tells of how Margaret Joyce received the ring when and eagle dropped it into her lap.
The Claddagh symbol is often worn as a ring, but other jewelry items feature the Claddagh symbol. The Irish word for the claddagh ring is “fáinne Chladach.” As a ring, it is often worn as an engagement or wedding ring, but can be a symbol of friendship as well. Wearing a claddagh ring shows others the wearer’s relationship status. If worn on the right hand it means that the person is either looking for love or is dating someone. In this case, the heart will face either outward or inward from the wearer, respectively. When worn on the left hand, however, and more dedicated relationship is indicated. On the left hand with the crown facing out, it means the person is engaged. With it facing in, it means the person is married.
Claddagh rings are traditionally passed down to the next generation. This is often done on the wedding day. If there are no claddagh rings to pass down, the couple may look for new ones they wish to exchange and pass down to future generations.
The Claddagh symbol is a popular symbol used by many Celtic people today, especially the Irish. Although it is most common use is as a ring, Claddagh symbols can also be found as necklaces, tattoos, and other decorative items.