Claddagh ringFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaCladdagh ringThe Claddagh ring (Irish: fáinne Chladaigh) is a traditional Irish ring given as a token of friendship, love and/or as a wedding ring. The design and customs associated with it originated in the Irish fishing village of Claddagh, located just outside the city of Galway. The ring was first produced in the 17th century during the reign of William and Mary, though elements of the design date to the late Roman period.
SymbolismThe Claddagh's distinctive design features two hands clasping a heart, and usually surmounted by a crown. The elements of this symbol are often said to correspond to the qualities of love (the heart), friendship (the hands), and loyalty (the crown). A "Fenian" Claddagh ring, without a crown, was later designed in Dublin. Claddagh rings, with or without the crown (most commonly with a crown), have come to denote pride in Irish heritage, while continuing to be symbols of love and marriage.
Claddagh rings may be used as friendship or relationship rings depending on the intention of wearer and, in the case of a gift, of the giver. There are three traditionally accepted ways of wearing the ring which may signal someone's relationship status:
There are other traditions involving the hand and the finger upon which the Claddagh is worn but these are difficult to reference. Folklore about the ring is relatively recent with no "slow growth from antiquity" and "very little native Irish writing about the ring" according to Sean McMahon.
- When worn on the right ring finger with the heart pointing to the fingertip, the wearer is free of any attachment.
- On the same finger but the other way round, with the heart pointing away from the fingertip, it suggests someone is romantically involved.
- When the ring is on the left hand wedding ring finger, it means the person is married or engaged.
When my grandmother, my father's mother, passed away, I had discovered in a jewelry box she had left at my parents house from when she lived with them, a claddagh ring. It seems to be an old ring. I wear it on my right ring finger with the heart pointing to the fingertip, not taking it off really for anything. I often wonder who gave my grandmother the ring? Her past was, in recent years a few before her death, revealed to us by her to have had a previous love, who's name will remain unspoken. I will say, his name is very Irish...could this ring be from him? She never wore it. Just tucked it away in a box, perhaps for me to find. Maybe someday I