Claddagh Ring History
What makes the Claddagh (Cladagh) Ring so interesting is that the true origin of the ring is a mystery. It is a well known fact that the ring was named after the old
Irish fishing village of Claddagh, on the Galway coast in Ireland, but no one knows exactly why or when. A popular belief is that a man named Richard Joyce is the
creator of the ring and named it after the town where he came from. Another theory is that an Irish woman named Margaret Joyce, who was known for her charitable deeds,
had the ring dropped into her lap by a passing eagle as a reward.
Today these rings remain popular among men and women who often buy them as wedding rings or engagement rings. There are many places where they are for sale. The most
popular rings are made of gold, silver, and sterling silver. Information on the meaning of the ring and its significance in Irish culture throughout history is
presented in a list format below.
Claddagh Ring Historical Facts
- It is believed that the Claddagh ring dates back to the 17th century, making it over 300 years old.
- In the 18th century, Americans were introduced to Claddagh rings when immigrants brought them over. Irish-American families often pass down these treasured
heirlooms to their loved ones.
- Fisherman from the town of Claddagh, who were known as Fisher Kings, used the Claddagh crest as a marking on their ships to warn others to stay away from their
- For centuries the people of Claddagh have used this ring as a traditional wedding ring. Today they are even available as engagement rings.
- The theory of how the Claddagh ring came to be that is thought to be most accurate is the one about Richard Joyce. It is said that on a trip to the West Indies, he
was captured by pirates and sold as a slave to a Moorish goldsmith. During his 14 years in captivity, he was taught as an apprentice and became a skilled goldsmith
himself. When he was released and returned to Galway, Ireland, he created the Claddagh ring.
- The Claddagh ring is known not only by other variations in the spelling of the name but also by many other names including clasped hands, heart ring, double heart
ring, hands and heart ring, Irish heart ring, Faith ring, and Irish wedding ring.
Claddagh Ring Descriptive Facts
- There are three parts to the Claddagh ring, each with its own significance. There are two clasping hands which represent friendship, a crown which represents
loyalty, and a heart which represents love.
- It is not only the parts of the Claddagh ring that have a special significance. It is also the way in which it is worn.
- The only time it is worn on the left hand is when a person is married or engaged. It is worn on the right hand with the crown directed away from the heart if a
person is open to a new relationship. If a person is not interested in a romance of any kind, it is worn on the right hand with the crown directed towards the
- Although the Claddagh ring possesses its own distinct style, the clasping hands of the ring bear a striking resemblance to the European Faith Rings which were
popular during Medieval times and stood for faith, trust and brotherhood.