The Claddagh

The Claddagh

The Claddagh is an ancient Irish symbol which represents LOVE, LOYALTY & FRIENDSHIP. Today, the Claddagh symbol is very popular on wedding rings, but is also utilized in all types of jewelry, stationary and decor.

Charles Duffy, Broker of Claddagh Florida Properties was born in Ireland and was raised on Claddagh Road in Dublin. Claddagh Road was also home to the world famous musicians the Furey Brothers who lived directly across the street from Charles. Claddagh Florida Properties was named out of the love of helping others and the loyalty and friendship that has abounded from the many great relationships the Duffy Real Estate Team have formed with all of the great buyers and sellers they have had the privilege of serving.

The Claddagh ring has a long history, the roots of which are deeply seeded in Irish tradition. These beautiful rings have become popular all over the world, and are worn by both men and women, single or taken. The Claddagh ring was named for the ancient fisherman’s village of Claddagh, near Galway City, Ireland.

“The Claddagh’s distinctive design features two hands clasping a heart, and usually surmounted by a crown. The elements of this symbol are often said to correspond to the qualities of love (the heart), friendship (the hands), and loyalty (the crown)
The way that a Claddagh ring is worn on the hand is usually intended to convey the wearer’s romantic availability, or lack thereof.
Traditionally, if the ring is on the right hand with the heart facing outward and away from the body, this indicates that the person wearing the ring is not in any serious relationship, and may in fact be single and looking for a relationship: “their heart is open.”
When worn on the right hand but with the heart facing inward toward the body, this indicates the person wearing the ring is in a relationship, or that “someone has captured their heart”.
A Claddagh worn on the left hand ring finger facing outward away from the body generally indicates that the wearer is engaged.
When the ring is on the left hand ring finger and facing inward toward the body, it generally means that the person wearing the ring is married.”

Another story tells of a Prince who fell in love with a common maid. To convince her father his feelings were genuine and he had no intentions of “using” the girl, he designed a ring with hands representing friendship, a crown representing loyalty, and a heart representing love. He proposed to the maid with this ring, and after the father heard the explanation of the symbolism of the ring, he gave his blessing.

One name that stands out through history as the creator of the Claddagh ring is Richard Joyce.

As the story goes, Richard Joyce, a native of Galway, was captured by Algerian pirates and sold into slavery to a Moorish goldsmith. The goldsmith trained Robert as an apprentice and he became very skilled in his craft. In the late 17th century, King William III demanded the immediate release of all British subjects from Algiers. The goldsmith offered Richard Joyce the opportunity to marry his only daughter, as well as part of his wealth if Richard would stay in Algiers. Richard declined, and returned to Galway, where he took the skills he had learned as an apprentice, became a jeweler, and created the first Claddagh ring. The earliest Claddagh rings to be traced have Joyce’s mark and the initials.

Another tale surrounding the origins of the Claddagh involves Margaret Joyce, a wealthy widow of a Spanish merchant named Domingo de Rona. In the late 16th century, upon her return to Galway, Margaret married Oliver Og French, Mayor of Galway, and used the money she had inherited from her first husband to build bridges in Connacht. One day, as a reward for her charitable works and good deeds, an eagle flew overhead and dropped the first Claddagh ring in Margaret’s lap.

As the Irish are known partly for their love of myth and folklore, it seems almost appropriate that the true origin of the ring isn’t known.

Royals and celebrities who wore Claddagh rings
Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly, a famous Hollywood actress in the 1950s) also wore Claddagh rings.

American ‘celebrities’ who wore Claddagh rings include United States President John F. Kennedy, as well as actor turned politician and United States President Ronald Raegan.

Other celebrities who have been seen wearing Claddagh rings include Winston Churchill, John Wayne, Walt Disney, Julia Roberts, to name just a few.