If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit Ireland, you might have noticed a few things about the country. First of all, there is A LOT of green around the place (and I mean a lot). Then, there is the accent (which is pretty impressive). There’s also the incredible folk music they produce (it is toe-tappingly awesome), and there’s also all of the symbology and history associated with the Emerald Isle. But one of the things I noticed during my trip to Ireland was that there were many people wearing a similar kind of ring. Only now do I know that this was, in fact, a Claddagh Ring…
What is a Claddagh Ring?
Well, in short, the Claddagh Ring is just like your average piece of jewelry. As a common piece of jewelry worn by Irish folk, the Claddagh Ring adorns the hands of thousands of people across the country and is a major symbol of Irish culture. Worn in gold or silver, the Claddagh Ring features two hands clasping a crowned heart. The ring itself is given to the wearer to represent love, friendship and loyalty – traits that are represented by each aspect of the ring. The heart represents love, the crown represents loyalty, and the hands represent friendship. Many Irish people receive this ring from their family, or even on their engagement. Pretty adorable, ey?!
The history of the Claddagh Ring
Although the Claddagh Ring is an entity of its own, it is also part of a group of European rings called the ‘fede rings.’ So named to be ‘joined in faith or loyalty’ these rings have been used for centuries to pledge vows or show an appreciation for a loved one. Many experts date the Claddagh Ring back to the Roman reign, but it seems that they only became part of popular Irish culture at the end of the 20th Century. Since then, many Irish people have used the ring to symbolize their Irish identity, as well as their love for a significant other.
How to wear a Claddagh Ring
The Claddagh Ring itself already represents love, loyalty and friendship – but it seems there is so much more to it than that. It is not enough to simply wear the ring on any finger, as Irish folklore suggests that the wearer should place the ring upon a certain finger to represent their relationship status. If you are single and looking for a new man or woman in your life, you should wear the Claddagh Ring on your right hand with the point of the heart pointing towards your fingers. If you are in a relationship, you should wear the ring on your right hand with the point of the heart pointing towards the wrist. If you are engaged, you should wear the ring on your left hand with the point of the heart pointed towards your fingertips, and if you are married, you should wear the ring on your left hand with the point of the heart pointed towards your wrist. However, this is a very traditional way of wearing the ring, and many modern Irish people do not follow these rules.
If you live in Ireland, you may already know about the Claddagh Rings – and you might even be wearing one right now! But if you’re not up to date with the symbolism of the Claddagh Ring, this is everything you need to know.