Irish, or Celtic, wedding rings, according to The Celtic Jeweller located in Dublin Ireland, come in three symbolic styles: The Trinity Knot, the Triskele and the Claddagh.
The Trinity Knot
The trinity knot ring intertwines Christian and Celtic symbols to connect three points symbolizing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the Christian holy trinity – and the trinity of ancient Celtic gods and goddesses. Known as the “love knot,” this design is symbolic of the growing spirit, eternal life and never-ending love.
The Triskele wedding ring design – with its three spirals interlocked to represent eternal commitment – is symbolic of the phases of the moon, reincarnation and eternity.
Perhaps the best known Irish wedding ring design, however, is the Claddagh, with its tell-tale heart symbolizing love, the hands representing friendship and the crown which stands for loyalty.
Claddagh rings are given today for a variety of reasons – to mark a special birthday, as a Valentine’s Day gift, as a promise or engagement ring, or in token of strong friendship. In Ireland, Claddagh rings have been traditionally used as wedding rings, and still are today — passed down to a bride on her wedding day by her mother or grandmother.
The centuries-old tale behind the Claddagh ring credits Irish goldsmith Richard Joyce, a member in one of the Tribes of Galway, with crafting the first Claddagh ring for his true love, from whom he was torn apart but hoped to someday marry. Legend has it that she waited faithfully for his return, upon which he created the ring for her to wear as a token for their love, friendship and loyalty for one-another, and soon thereafter the two were married.
Joyce’s design, the Claddagh, is named for a little fishing village located just outside of what is today, Galway City, Ireland.
The original purpose of the Claddagh ring, according to Claddagh Jewellers in Galway City, Ireland, was to show one’s marital status.
While tradition varies, the Claddagh ring worn on the right hand with the heart facing outwards indicates that your heart is open to love, that you are willing to consider being in a relationship but you haven’t jet met your true love.
The Claddagh ring on the same hand but with the heart facing inwards sends the message that your heart is not open to love at the moment. It can mean that your heart belongs to another and you are telling the world that you are in a relationship, or that you are engaged. It can also be an indication that you are not interested in a relationship at this time — that your heart is simply not available at the moment. Others choose to show the world that they are engaged to be married,
On the day your life and love is intertwined with another forever, the ring will move to the left hand, with the heart facing inwards. Worn this way, the Claddagh ring indicates that your two hearts have joined together for eternity, and is a symbol that you are married. Some choose to move the ring to the left hand with the heart facing out upon engagement, and then turn the ring with the heart facing inwards on the day of the wedding.
Do you have a Claddagh ring with a special story behind it? If so, we want to hear it!