A little history
Several legends exist around the symbolism of the Claddagh, and particularly the Claddagh ring. According to the most widespread version, the Claddagh takes its name from a small fishing village in Galway where a certain Richard Joyce lived, captured while he was at sea with his crew shortly before getting married. Sold as a slave to an Algerian blacksmith, he trained in his art and began to forge a ring for his bride. Upon his release, his master offered to marry his daughter but he refused and returned home to find his true love to whom he offered the said ring before marrying her.
The meaning of the Claddagh
The Claddagh can be recognized by its very particular design: two hands joined around a heart to signify friendship, a heart to represent love, and a crown which symbolizes loyalty or fidelity. The Claddagh ring can have several meanings depending on how it is worn:
- On the right hand with the heart pointing outwards if the wearer is single
- On the right hand with the heart pointing inward if the wearer is in a relationship
- On the left hand with the tip of the heart outwards if the wearer is engaged
- On the left hand with the tip of the heart inward if the wearer is married.