Monday, August 15, 2011

Claddagh Ring Meaning - Symbolism And History Of Beautiful Celtic Rings

Over 300 years ago there was a small fishing village in Ireland called The Claddagh, which was located to the city walls of the Irish town called Galway. This is the first part of the story that will lead us to understand the real Claddagh Ring meaning.

Obviously the name of ring itself comes from its original association with this tiny Irish coastal village with its stony beach an a view out over the ocean. It is in this place that the long and famous tradition of the world known Claddagh rings first started many years ago.

This was the start of the story of these Celtic jewelry rings and also the beginning of their attraction for all those associated with the Celtic culture and heritage over the years. During the periods since they were first created their symbolism and true meaning have had a very important effect on their popularity within the culture of the Celts.

All aspects of the Claddagh ring meaning has always had a strong cultural impact and more recently this effect has been experienced by anyone who can appreciate what these rings stand for and the inherent beauty of their designs.

The word Claddagh is a translation from the old Irish language and the words An Cladach that actually mean a flat stony shore and this of course refers to the old shoreline of the village as was back a long time ago. So to put this simply the ring got its name from the village in which it was created back in the day!

The tradition and history of these rings is therefore a very long one and they have had cultural significance for the Celtic culture for a very long time. This has been an important factor in the Claddagh ring meaning both in the past and in more modern time and today. The ancient village was a pretty place of narrow winding streets and cute mud houses with thatched roofs.

Today the village has now been enveloped by the development and expansion of nearby city of Galway so that now The Claddagh is just a small area within the town, but even to this day the Claddagh ring meaning is upheld by plaques on the doors of house in the same location as the original ancient village. The Celtic people were always a very proud culture and this continues right up to the present day.

From what can be determined from history and various research there are now in fact two different theories as to how the rings came into existence. We already know how they got their name, from the ancient Celtic village, but why were they originally created there and who first made them?

To be honest each theory really does change the significance of the Claddagh ring meaning, but it is always interesting too get the full picture historically on the derivation of something that is still so important to many and especially those that have Celtic ancestors and attach meaning to this link with the past.

The first idea about how the rings came to be, suggests that a native of Galway town, called Richard Joyce, was captured in Algeria and put in to slavery to work for a Moorish goldsmith, where he learned his trade as a maker of fine jewelry. He was eventually release and returned to The Claddagh in Ireland where he either brought back the ring from his master or that he created it when he got back to celebrate his return and the love of his country and kinsmen.

The alternative to this part of the Claddagh ring meaning would have us believe that a woman, called Margaret Joyce, inherited a fortune from her husband who was a Spanish merchant trading with Galway. The ring first appeared when it fell down right into her lap from an eagle flying overhead. No one knows for sure which theory has more truth in it.

Either way it does not really matter as it is obvious that the ring still has a strong significance today despite it's history or the many different stories that surround it from ancient times right up to more modern times.
The real significance of the true Claddagh ring meaning is more to do with the symbolism that is associated with these rings than their actual history. These symbols are integrated into the designs of the ring and it is these that also make the ring so popular. The designs are very attractive and this means that almost every ring design, and today there are now many of them, is slight different, but importantly they are all very beautiful Celtic jewelry rings.

The basis of the design is two clasped hands holding a crowned heart and there are several meanings to these symbols as you might expect. In general the overall effect of these symbols is one that represents love, friendship and loyalty and it is this that makes these rings so popular as engagement rings and wedding bands for both men and women.

The heart of the Claddagh ring meaning is recognized as being an important symbol for love and the crown above it is a symbol that is known to indicate loyalty while the final symbol on the ring, the hands, are the part that represents friendship.

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