A triskell in Newgrange - young shanahan - cc


A triskell in Newgrange - young shanahan - cc

They can be seen everywhere: on archaeological sites, jewellery or flags… The triskell is a Celtic symbol very present in Ireland, but also on the Isle of Man, as well as in Brittany, Scotland and Galicia. Composed of 3 spirals joined by a central point, this symbol has been used many times throughout history, from the Iron Age until today…

Presentation of the Triskell

Description of the Triskell

A Triskell is composed of 3 distinct branches, all oriented in a single direction, evoking the idea of a cycle. (It happens that the branches are represented in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction: it doesn’t matter).

It is most often 3 spirals, or 3 folded legs, connected to each other by a point in the middle of the symbol.

The Triskell has many interpretations. The presence of these 3 branches has indeed generated innumerable hypotheses, some considered credible, others totally absurd. It can thus represent :

  • the 3 main gods of Celtic mythology: Lug, Dagda and Ogme
  • the 3 elements: water, earth and fire
  • the 3 ages of life: youth, middle age and old age
  • the 3 stages: past, present and future
  • the sun
  • the trinity

Its Diffusion

In Ireland, Triskell-like forms can be seen as early as the Neolithic period in sites such as Newgrange, where similar symbols were carved into the stone. These take the form of several radial lines, meeting at their centre.

Nowadays, the Triskell has become a popular symbol, widely disseminated by the intervention of Alan Stivell, an artist who brought Celtic music back to the forefront. Brittany was notably the first to re-adopt this symbol into their culture. Then followed Galicia, Asturias, Scotland and Ireland.

So much more to discover...

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