Claddagh Ring

A ring of Claddagh - Royal Claddagh - cc
A ring of Claddagh - Royal Claddagh - cc

In Ireland, there is a tradition. Many Irish people wear a Claddagh ring. It is an Irish ring with two hands clasping a crowned heart. According to custom, if you wear the ring on your right hand with the crown facing inwards, you mean that your heart is free. If you wear the ring in your right hand with the crown facing outwards, you are telling the chosen one in your heart that love is possible. And when you wear the ring in your left hand, the crown outward, your two hearts have become inseparable. Pretty nice, isn’t it?

History of the Claddagh Ring

A romantic legend to justify the symbolism of the ring

A Claddagh ring - Royal Claddagh - cc

A Claddagh ring – Royal Claddagh – cc

Ultra famous, the Claddagh ring has become a true cultural symbol in Ireland. As famous as the harp or the Irish clover, this ring is a must-have, whose iconography is even worn as a tattoo!

If the Irish are so attached to this ring, it is above all because it is the product of a terrible history…

Because there is indeed a “legend” around this Irish ring. A story surely a little romanticized which would go back to more than 300 years ago. Shall we tell it to you? Here we go:

The story would take place during the 18th century. At that time, Ireland was prey to conquerors living off the slave trade. Many speculators and other pirates landed in villages to plunder, steal, and capture Irish people, destined to become slaves.

In the west of the island, not far from Galway, there is a small fishing village called Claddagh. Life there is peaceful and quiet… Until one of its inhabitants, named Richard Joyce, was kidnapped on the eve of his wedding. (According to the versions, he was also captured by pirates while fishing off the coast. )

In both cases his destination was the same.

Very unhappy to be separated from his fiancée, Richard Joyce was taken in spite of himself to Turkey, where he was sold as a slave to a Turkish silversmith. From then on, Joyce has to help his master make jewelry. He is then trained and works hard at the task in an attempt to forget his beloved.

Over time, he becomes Master Goldsmith, and in homage to his love for the one he left on his island, he creates a jewel: a ring symbolizing union, adorned with a crowned heart.

His return home is, once again, subject to controversy.

While some evoke an escape, others say that his master, sensitive to Richard’s sadness, and as a reward for the quality of his work, would have freed him and let him return to his land. Once in his village, he would have found the woman who was going to be his wife. He offered her the jewel, lived happily and had many children!

Where to buy Claddagh’s ring

A ring, symbol of love and friendship

As you can see, the Claddagh ring is first and foremost a romantic story. It alone evokes love, passion, lack, loyalty, fidelity and friendship.

In Ireland, this ring can be found everywhere. Many tourist shops sell it for a reasonable price (less than 40€). Sometimes in 925 silver, sometimes in gold plated… There is something for all tastes and for all budgets.

However, it should be noted that many jewellers also offer them. But here, you’re immediately in the big league. The materials are more noble, and the ring can be openworked with diamonds… etc… One thing is sure: the budget may considerably lighten your purse… But it’s all a question of choice!

For the anecdote…

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: a series that popularized the Claddagh ring around the world…

For those who know, the series of the 90’s “Buffy against Vampires” contributed to make Claddagh’s ring known all over the world. In the series, the heroine is offered the famous ring by Angel, as a testimony of eternal love.

A gesture that made thousands of young people melt with envy, who quickly rushed to the shops to find a similar one! Note that the Claddagh ring is unisex, and can therefore be worn by everyone.

What’s up? Do you want yours too?