The Claddagh Ring: A Brief History and Its Meaning

The Claddagh ring is one piece of Irish history that has survived the test of time. This will provide a brief history and the meaning behind the ring.

The Claddagh Ring: A Brief History and Its Meaning


The Claddagh is a piece of Irish history that has gained popularity through the centuries. You’ve probably seen it around but don’t know the story or significance behind it. Let’s look at the Claddagh ring: a brief history and its meaning.

A Brief History

Claddagh itself refers to a small fishing village near Galway City, where the ring supposedly originated. Generations have passed down this incredible story. Richard Joyce of Galway is generally credited. As the story goes, Joyce left Claddagh on a ship en route to the plantations of the West Indies the week he was to get married. Mediterranean Algerian pirates captured his ship and sold the crew as slaves. A Moorish goldsmith purchased Richard. Richard Joyce soon became a master goldsmith and crafted a ring for the woman he was supposed to marry.

In 1689, King William III concluded an agreement whereby the Moors had to release all his subjects held in captivity and allow them to return to their homes. This meant Richard Joyce was once again a free man. The Moorish goldsmith offered Richard his daughter in marriage and half of his wealth if Joyce would remain in Algiers. He turned down this offer to return to Claddagh to find the woman he was supposed to marry. His true love. He gave her the ring he had created while in slavery, they married, and Richard set up a goldsmith shop in Claddagh. The earliest Claddagh rings are said to bear his initials, RJ, on them.

It’s Meaning

Each of the shapes found in the ring symbolizes one of these three: love, friendship, and royalty. The heart represents love. The crown is the symbol of royalty, and the hands represent friendship. In the ring, you’ll find a pair of hands encompassing a heart with a crown on top.

There are different ways to wear the ring to symbolize your relationship status. If you wear the ring on your left ring finger with the bottom of the heart pointed toward you, this implies that you’re married. If you flip the ring so the crown is closest toward you and the heart is pointing away from you, this sends the message that you’re engaged. Wearing the Claddagh ring on your right hand signifies that you’re single. Wear the ring on your right ring finger with the heart facing outward if you’re looking for a relationship. If you are dating someone, point the heart toward you.

You have the option to wear the Claddagh ring any way you choose. Maybe you like the way it looks on your index finger with the heart facing outward, and you’re married. There is no right or wrong way to wear this timeless piece of jewelry. Also, you don’t have to be Irish to own this beautiful piece of jewelry.

Now you know a bit more about the rich history and meaning behind the Claddagh ring. Don’t hesitate to go out and get one for yourself!

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