It’s nearing St. Valentine’s Day and love abounds. Chocolate, wine and roses are popular gifts for a reason, but a true romantic will go straight for the heart with a gift of the Claddagh ring.
The ring represents one of Ireland’s loveliest traditions. No one is completely certain who invented the original Claddagh ring, but both stories are beautiful.
One tells of a young widow who returned to Ireland, used her wealth to invest in her home town of Galway, fell in love and remarried an Irishman, then was rewarded for her faithfulness and good deeds when an eagle flew by and dropped the first Claddagh ring in her lap.
The second story tells of Richard Joyce, a fisherman from the town of Claddagh, who was kidnapped, torn from his true love, and taken to northern Africa. While there he became a goldsmith apprentice and created the ring’s distinctive design. Years later, he was freed and returned to Ireland – ring in hand – to marry his true love.
The endearing symbol is two hands clasping a heart topped with a crown, symbolizing love, loyalty and fidelity.
There’s a specific way to wear a Claddagh ring:
- Single and available? Wear the ring on the right hand with the bottom of the heart pointing toward the fingertips.
- In a relationship? Keep it on your right hand, but point the bottom of the heart toward your wrist.
- Engaged? Move the ring to your left hand, bottom of the heart pointing to your fingertips.
- Married and committed forever? Wear it on your left hand with the bottom of the heart pointing toward your wrist.
On this Valentine’s Day, may you find someone worthy of your own Claddagh ring. Take heed the words of the beloved Irish author Oscar Wilde, “Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.”