Growing up in a very Irish family, Claddaghs were everywhere. My dad's wedding ring is a Claddagh. Almost every anniversary gift that my dad got for my mom was from the Irish shop, and consisted of some form of a Claddagh. My grandma had the Claddagh in various forms. It was a symbol that was part of my family, and from a young age I fell in love with the story and symbolism behind it. I would like to share that story with you.
In Claddagh, Ireland, a fishing village, there was a young man and woman who were just a week away from being married. Pirates came into their village and took the men to sell them into slavery. Mr. Richard Joyce, the young man who was to be married, was sold to a Turkish gold smith. While he was working for this gold smith, he never forgot about his true love back home. He crafted a ring that he hoped to eventually return home and give to the love of his life. This ring is now called the Claddagh. He was eventually freed from slavery, and was able to return home. When he got home he found his love and gave her the ring. After receiving the ring, they got married and their love lasted forever.
The Claddagh ring consists of three parts: the hands, the heart, and the crown. Each part has its own meaning. The hands symbolize friendship, the heart symbolizes love, and the crown symbolizes loyalty.
Many times, the Claddagh is given to a young girl by her parents. This can sometimes be a form a purity ring for the young girl. Claddaghs are also given to a significant other to symbolize the love he/she has for the other.
The Claddagh also has symbolism in the way that it is worn. If one is wearing the ring on his/her right hand with the crown facing inward, his/her heart is still searching for someone. If he/she is wearing it on his/her right hand with the crown facing outwards, his/her heart has a special connection with a special someone. Finally, the Claddagh, when worn on the left hand with the crown facing outward, symbolizes marriage and unity.
The Claddagh has been such an important part of my heritage, and I am excited to share it with my children in the future. It is one of the most beautiful symbols of love. I hope that you will go out and share this story with other people!