What is a Claddagh Ring?

Claddagh the Irish symbol of love.  Claddagh refers to a tiny village of fishermen near Galway city. The Claddagh ring originated here. As per the legend, the town designed a sigil to place on the sails of ships, and worn by the Sailors of Claddagh. When these sailors ran into other fishermen on their waters, they would look for a Claddagh sigil and if they did not find it, they would kill them.

The Claddagh is a heart being held by a pair of hands with a crown above. A symbol of love and friendship. The hands are friendship, the crown is loyalty, the heart is love.  The Claddagh ring originating in Claddagh, said to be the oldest Irish fishing village.

Today, the ring is worn extensively in Ireland, either upon the right hand with the heart pointed outwards showing that the wearer is "free" or with the heart turned inwards to denote that he or she is "married". The best of place is on the left hand, with the heart, showing that the wearer is married happily.

The Claddagh ring was developed by Richard Joyce, native of Galway. While being transported to the plantations of the Moorish West Indies as a slave, he was captured by pirates in the Mediterranean and trained in his craft by a goldsmith who bought him. He was set free In 1689 and he returned to Galway to set up shop in the Claddagh to make Claddagh rings. (The oldest fishing village in Ireland).

The ring became popular around Connamera since the mid last century its popularity being helped by the big exodus out of the West during the big 1847-49 Famine. These rings are kept as heirlooms with pride and passed from mother down to daughter.

A Dublin version of the Claggadh Ring appeared about 100 years ago with two Hearts and two hands and No Crown. This is the Fenian Claddagh ring.  -end-

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