Monthly Archives: January 2014

How should I wear my ring now that my beloved husband has died?

“I fell in love with my  husband at first sight. I had always dreamed of a ring with two hands holding something, what I never knew. As a young woman I got engaged with a very different  kind of ring. But thirty years later I was able to marry my true real love. We bought two Claddagh rings. Now my beloved husband as died, how should I wear my ring now? I don’t want to take it off.” Germany.

The History of the Town and County of the Town of Galway (1820)

Extract from “The History of the Town and County of the Town of Galway From the Earliest Period to the Present Time“, 1820, By James Hardiman, Esc. (Member of the Royal Irish Academy and Sub-commissioner on the Public Records).

Map of Old Galway Hardiman’s Map of Galway

Joyes or Joce

This old Galway family is of ancient and honourable English descent, and was allied to the Welch and British princes. Thomas Joyes, the first of the name that came to Ireland, sailed from Wales in the reign of Edward I, and arrived with this fleet at Thomond in Munster, where he married Onorah O’Brien, daughter of the chief of that district; from thence, putting to sea, he directed his course to the western part of Connaught, where he acquired considerable tracts of territory, which his posterity still inhabit. While on the voyage, his wife was delivered of a son, whom he named Mac Mara, son of the sea, he extended his father’s acquisitions, and from him descended the sept of the Joyces, a race of men remarkable for their extraordinary stature, who, for centuries past inhabited the mountainous district, in Iar Connaught, called from them, Duthaidh Sheodhoigh, or Joyce country, now forming the barony of Ross, in the County of Galway, and from which where formerly tributary to the O’Flaherties.38 Walter Jorse, Jorze or Joyce, brother of Thomas, Cardinal of Sabina, of this name and family, was Archbishop of Armagh, he resigned in 1311, and was succeeded by his brother Roland. The former was confessor to Edward II. and was author of several works.39 The families of Joyes-grove in the County of Galway, Oxford in Mayo, and Woodquay in the town of Galway, with that of Merview, near the town, are the present descendants of this old family.

Arms. Argent, an eagle displayed, with two necks, gules, over all Fess Ermine.  Crest. A demi wolf-rampant, argent, ducally gorged, or.40  Motto, Mors aut honorabilis vita.

—-

38 Mac Mara Joyes was first married to the daughter of O’Flathery, prince of Iar Connaught. The most remarkable of his descendants, besides the above, was William Joyes, who was married to Agnes Morris, being on his travels from Italy to Greece, he was taken prisoner by the Saracens, and brought to Africa, from whence, after a variety of adventures, and undergoing a captivity of seven years, he escaped to Spain; while here, his exalted virtues were rewarded by heaven according to the pedigree of the family, in an extraordinary manner; for, as they relate, an eagle flying over his head, pointed out to him a place, where he discovered vast treasures; with which returning to Galway, he contributed larges sums towards building the walls, church and other public edifices of the town. He dies, leaving three sons James, Henry and Robert, and was interred in the Franciscan friary.

Heaven was again propitious to another of this family; Margaret Joyes, great grand daughter of the above names William, who was surnamed, Margaret na Drehide, Margaret of the Bridges, from the great number which she built. The story of this singular woman is till current amongst her descendants. They relate she was born of reduced but genteel parents and was first married to Domingo de Roma, a wealthy Spanish merchant who traded to Galway, where, he fell in love with, and married her; and soon after departing for Spain, died there, leaving her mistress of an immense property. Upon his decease, having no issue by him, she married Oliver Oge Ffrench, who was Mayor of Galway in 1596. So far the narrative is probable and consistent but what follows will try the credulity of the reader. It relates that this lady, during the absence of her second husband, on a voyage, erected most part of the bridges of the Province of Connaught, at her own expense! and, that as she was one day sitting before the workmen, an eagle, flying over her head, let fall into her palm, a gold ring adorned with a brilliant stone, the nature of which no lapidary could ever discover. It was preserved by her descendants, as a most valuable relique in 1661 (the date of the MS. from which this account is taken,) as a mark supposed to have been sent from Heaven of its approbation of her good works and charity!! This fable though still piously believed, by some of this family, was humorously ridiculed by Latocaaye, an incredulous French traveller, who visited Galway about the end of the last century.

Cornet Joyes commanded the guard that conducted Charles I to the scaffold, but it does not appear that he was of this descent.

Several individuals of this name have long felt grateful to the memory of William III. from the following circumstance, on the accession of that monarch to the throne of England. One of the first acts of his reign was to send an ambassador to Algiers to demand the immediate release of all the British subjects detained there in slavery, the dey and council, intimidated, reluctantly complied with this demand. Among those released, was a young man of the name of Joyes, a native of Galway, who, fourteen years before, was captured on his passage to the West Indies, by an Algerine Corsair; on his arrival at Algiers, he was purchased by a wealthy Turk who followed the profession of a goldsmith, and who observing his slave, Joyes, to be tractable and ingenious, instructed him in his trade in which he speedily became an adept. The Moor, as soon as he heard of his release, offered him, in case he should remain, his only daughter in marriage, and with her, half his property, but all these, with other tempting and advantageous proposals, Joyes resolutely declined; on his return to Galway he married, and followed the business of a goldsmith with considerable success, and , having acquired a handsome independence, he was enabled to purchased the estate of Rahoon, (which lies about two miles west of the town,) from Colonel Whaley, one of Cromwell’s old officers. Joyes, having no son, bequeather his property to his three daughters, two of whom only were married, one, to Andrew Roe French, ancestor to the late Andrew French, of Rahoon, to whom, in addition to their own, the unmarried sister left her third; the second daughter was married to the ancestor of the late Martin Lynch, a banker, who, in her right, inherited the remainder of the estate. In gratitude for this act of King William, this family long after solemnised his accession to the throne by bonfires, and his victories in Ireland by exhibiting Orange lilies, on the 1st and 12th of July. Some of Joyes’ silver work, stamped with his mark, and the initial letters of his name, are still remaining. A very curious pedigree of this family, is recorded in the Office of Arms. Vol. 10.

39 Ware and De Burgo.

40 This is the crest on the map, that now used, is a Demi Griffin, sergeant.

The Letters of “Norah” on her Tour Through Ireland (1882)

The Claddagh was a great disappointment to me. I heard that it was not safe to venture into it alone. I got up early and had sunshine with me when I strolled through the Claddagh. I saw no extreme poverty there. Most of the houses were neatly whitewashed; all were superior to the huts among the ruins at Athenry. The people were very busy, very comfortably clothed, and, in a way, well-to-do looking. Some of the houses were small and windowless, something the shape of a beehive, but not at all forlornly squalid. They make celebrated fleecy flannel here in Claddagh. They make and mend nets. They fish. I saw some swarthy men of foreign look, in seamen’s clothes, standing about. You will see beauty here of the swarthy type, accompanied by flashing black eyes and blue black hair, but I saw lasses with lint white locks also in the Claddagh. The testimony of all here is that the Claddagh people are a quiet, industrious, temperate and honest race of people. I am inclined to believe that myself. It is a pretty large district and I wandered through it without hearing one loud or one profane word. I was agreeably disappointed in the Claddagh. Claddagh has a church and large school of its own.

There is difference perceptible to me, but hardly describable between the Galway men and the rest of the West. The expression of face among the Donegal peasantry is a patience that waits. The Mayo men seem dispirited as the Leitrim men also do, but are capable of flashing up into desperation. The Galway men seem never to have been tamed. The ferocious O’Flaherties, the fierce tribes of Galway, the dark Spanish blood, have all left their marks on and bequeathed their spirit to the men of Galway. I met one or two who, like some of the Puritans, believed that killing was not murder, who urged that if the law would not deter great men from wrong-doing it should not protect them.” – Margaret Dixon McDougall; “The Letters of “Norah” on her Tour Through Ireland”; 1882.

The Meaning of the Claddagh Ring

Joyes Family CrestHistory of the Claddagh Ring

An original symbol of the Galway town of Claddagh, Ireland, (pronounced “klahda”) was first fashioned into the traditional ring back in the 17th Century during the reign of Mary II.
Legend has it that an Irish young man, Richard Joyce, bound for the West Indian slave plantations – no doubt the Irish Caribbean island of Montserrat – was kidnapped himself in rough seas by a band of Mediterranean pirates and sold to a Moorish goldsmith who over the many long years of his exile helped him perfect the skills of a master craftsman.

When in 1689 King William III negotiated the return of the slaves, Joyce returned to Galway – despite, it said, the Moor’s offer of the daughter’s hand in marriage and a princely dowry of half of all his wealth.

Back in Ireland a young women had never stopped faithful waiting for her true love to return. Upon which time when he presented her with the now famous Royal Claddagh gold ring – a symbol of their enduring love. Two hands to represent their friendship, the crown to signify their loyalty and lasting fidelity, and the sign of the heart to symbolise their eternal love for each other.

They soon married, never to be separated again.

“Several individuals of this name have long felt grateful to the memory of William III. from the following circumstance, on the accession of that monarch to the throne of England. One of the first acts of his reign was to send an ambassador to Algiers to demand the immediate release of all the British subjects detained there in slavery, the dey and council, intimidated, reluctantly complied with this demand. Among those released, was a young man of the name of Joyes, a native of Galway, who, fourteen years before, was captured on his passage to the West Indies, by an Algerine Corsair; on his arrival at Algiers, he was purchased by a wealthy Turk who followed the profession of a goldsmith, and who observing his slave, Joyes, to be tractable and ingenious, instructed him in his trade in which he speedily became an adept. The Moor, as soon as he heard of his release, offered him, in case he should remain, his only daughter in marriage, and with her, half his property, but all these, with other tempting and advantageous proposals, Joyes resolutely declined; on his return to Galway he married, and followed the business of a goldsmith with considerable success” James Hardiman, The History of the Town and County of the Town of Galway.

The Meaning of the Claddagh Ring

The Royal Claddagh ring is worn by people all over the world as a symbol of love, loyalty, friendship and fidelity. The hands are there for friendship, the heart is there for love. For loyalty throughout the year, the crown is raised above.

Wearing the Claddagh Ring

  1. Worn on the right hand, with crown and heart facing out, the ring tells that the wearer’s heart is yet to be won.
  2. While under love’s spell it is worn with heart and crown facing inwards.
  3. Wearing the ring on the left hand, with the crown and heart facing inwards, signifies that your love has been requited.

The Claddagh Tradition

The traditional wedding ring of the Irish since the 17th Century, the Claddagh ring is worn by people all over the world as a universal symbol of love, loyalty, friendship and fidelity.

Traditionally handed down from mother to daughter the Royal Claddagh ring has also become a symbol of our ties with the past and generations gone by. As Irish people we remember the many many of our people who had to leave Ireland with nothing but their lives during the Great Famine of the 19th Century – many leaving from here in Cork harbour to make the long voyage across the Atlantic to America. The gold Royal Claddagh ring was to become for many the only enduring link with their home country and practically their only savings and family inheritance.

Further reflecting the troubled history of Ireland itself, a hundred years ago the Fenian ring, with two hands and two hearts, was distinguishing by its lack of a crown to represent the struggle for Republican Ireland – however the traditional Royal Claddagh ring has always remaining the Irish standard proudly wearing the crown as a symbol of loyalty, a remembrance of our ancient Irish Kingdoms, and of our own British heritage.

Notable wearers of the Claddagh ring have included Queen Alexandria and King Edward VII of Britain and Queen Victoria of Britain and Ireland as it was then – a woman for whom the streets of Dublin where lined with cheering people. And in the little principality of Monaco, the Claddagh tradition lives on in the Royal family of Monaco and the memory of the beautiful Irish princess – Princess Grace of Monaco.

“The Governor of New York, George Pataki, was accompanied by his mother, Peggy Lynch, among others, at last week’s annual fundraising dinner for the Flax Trust, which promotes economic development in the North, at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan. Pataki, addressing the guests, said that when Brian Cowen was in New York recently, visiting Ground Zero, he had told him that he was asked by the parents of a missing city firefighter to inquire of the chief of the NYPD if a claddagh ring had been found in the wreckage. “Minister,” the chief told Cowen, “we have found 200 Claddagh rings.”

The ring, by which they had hoped to identify the body of their son, depicts two hands clutching a crowned heart symbolising love, friendship and fidelity. It was designed by Richard Joyce in Galway three centuries ago. It is as popular on the other side of the Atlantic as it is here. The discovery so early of so many in the ruins underlined “the loss suffered here and in Ireland”, said Pataki.” Irish Times, Weekend Sat, Oct 13, 01.

Today in the twenty-first Century, however, perhaps the most famous wearer of the Claddagh ring is the famous Buffy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. A present to her on her 17th birthday from her vampire lover, Angel, the ring was to symbolise their enduring love for each other – in spite of the obvious difficulties and even one day call Angel back from Hell.

“My people – before I was changed – they exchanged this as a sign of devotion. It’s a Claddagh ring. The hands represent friendship, the crown represents loyalty … and the heart … Well, you know … Wear it with the heart pointing towards you. It means you belong to somebody. Like this.” Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, Episode “The Surprise”.

Greenspeak: Ireland In Her Own Words

Greenspeak“Claddagh ring shows the design of two hands embracing a heart topped by a crown, from the traditional fishing village of Claddagh (on the edge of mediaeval Galway City). A symbol of love (the heart), friendship (the hands) and loyalty (the crown) given as a token of lasting affection. Often worn as wedding rings, they were kept as heirlooms and passed from grandmother to granddaughter. Also the name of a song. [<cladach ‘rocky seashore’]

‘The governor of New York, for example, mentioned recently that roughly 200 Claddagh rings had been recovered already. I suppose that might have something to do with the number of Irish-Americans lost [in the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001].’ Nuala O’Faolain Irish Times Magazine (3 November 2001).

How to wear a Claddagh ring

  1. in friendship: on the right hand, with the point of the heart towards the fingertip.
  2. engagement: on the right hand, with heart pointing to the wrist.
  3. marriage: on the left hand, with heart pointing to the wrist. Claddagh rings are used as wedding rings especially in Connacht.”

Paddy Sammon, Greenspeak, 2002.

Tale of the Ring

The Tale of the Ring

The Tale of the Ring

The story is a remarkable glimpse into the history of Ireland and its links with Moorish North Africa and Spain. Patricia McAdoo has taken the story of the Claddagh and written a beautiful children’s book with illustrations by James Newell, The Tale of the Ring.

“I grew up in the Claddagh, a fishing village across the bridge from the walls of Galway town. My father was a fisherman and right below our cottage was a slipway where, on clear mornings, the boats set sail, to return heaving and jumping with slippery mackerel and cod. The smell of fish always lingered on the air. Grandfather lived with us and he was so tall that he had to bend very low to come through the doorway. He spent his days sitting outside, watching the world go by and carving pieces of old bogwood. Every year, before the winter set in, he borrowed an ass and cart and went west to the bogs above Barna. When he came back, the cart was loaded with stretches of wood, which he carved into figures during the long evenings. Everyone in the Claddagh knew my grandfather. When I was eleven years old, he carved a boat for me, a white sailed cutter, with cloth sails of calico. Me and my brother Mikey took it down to the small inlet beside the slipway where the boats came in. We put it in the water and ran along the bank. ‘See it, Mikey,’ I shouted. ‘See how it tacks into the wind like Father’s boat.’ We raced the boat until it was too dark to see its sail. Every Saturday, Grandfather took me across the bridge into Fisher’s Lane market where the fish were sold. Here, he laid out his carvings on an old blue shawl my mother had given him. We stayed there until it grew dark and the market closed for another week. Then we went to the harbour to look at whatever ships were docked. On one particular evening, there were a lot of trading ships from other countries. We listened to the sailors as we walked down the quayside. They spoke in languages we did not understand. ‘What was it like to be away at sea?’ I asked. Grandfather, a merchant sailor for many years, was full of stories of his adventures. ‘It was hard, lad, but the great thing about it was we got to see the world.’ I held his hand as I skipped along beside him. ‘And what’s the best place you’ve ever been?’ He didn’t have to think too long. ‘That would have to be Tangiers.’ ‘On the north coast of Africa.’ I knew all the place names by heart from listening to tales of his adventures. ‘And what was it like?’ ‘Oh lad, it was beautiful. So hot we’d jump from the ship right into the sea to keep cool. Not a lot of the men could swim, but by the time we left the harbour, I could jump from the cross-sails.’ I had to run to keep up with his long strides. ‘Where else?’ ‘Let’s see now. Tarifa in Spain, across from Gibraltar.’ ‘And did you ever bring anything back from those places?’ ‘No, but I always tried to carve something to help me remember where I had been. In Egypt, it was a camel I saw one day near the harbour, and in Spain I remember carving a bullfighter. He was carried through the streets of the town because he had defeated the bull.’ ‘Where did all the carvings go?’ Grandfather shook his head. ‘I lost them … over the years.’

We made our way home, talking about the places he had been. It was October. We sat around the fire, me and my brother Mikey, my mother, my baby sister Saoirse on my father’s knee, and Grandfather on his bed. Father spoke as he cleaned out his pipe. ‘The catch was poor again today. Let’s hope it picks up soon.’ ‘What will you do?’ my mother asked. There were a lot of mouths to feed in the house. ‘We’ll have to go further out to the fishing grounds west of the islands. That’s bound to bring us a bit of luck.’ The next day was stormy and the boats stayed moored. I went down to the small beach near our house. My friend Annie was already there, watching the waves break on the shore. We played catch the waves for a while, dancing in and out at the very edge of the sea. ‘Do you want to come to the Aran Islands tomorrow?’ I asked. ‘Father is planning a fishing trip if the weather gets better.’ Annie’s face lit up. Her father was the shoe mender and they did not have a boat. In the morning the sea was calm and I knew we would go. Grandfather decided to come along so we set off early in my father’s boat. Mikey wanted to come too. ‘No,’ said my mother. ‘Not this time.’ We sailed west until we saw Inis Mór, the big island, loom into view. My father tied the boat at the pier and Annie laid out a picnic on a rock. We had the tea my mother had put in a tin can, and some oatcakes with bread and cheese. Then my father set off again, promising to be back before sunset. The three of us started the walk across to Dún Aengus, the ancient fort on the other side of the island. It was a steep climb and Grandfather grew tired. ‘Leave me here and go off with you, but don’t go near that cliff now. I’m warning ye.’ ‘We won’t,’ I shouted back. We scrambled up the rest of the hill and saw the ancient fort of stone. There was a great view of the other islands. We stood for a while and then made our way down. I stopped at the entrance to the fort and looked at Annie. ‘Let’s see if we can spot a gull’s nest.’ ‘We’d better be careful near the cliff,’ she said. ‘I know, I know. Come on.’ We headed towards the cliff edge. I peered down. The water was far below and there were no nests that I could see.

‘Let’s go back,’ said Annie. We were about to retrace our steps when, out of nowhere, a seagull flew in from the sea, swooping very low, right across our heads. I tripped and stumbled forward on the slippery grass. The swirling sea came towards me as I fell over the cliff. I landed hard on a flat piece of rock a few feet below the edge. My foot throbbed with white-hot pain and I closed my eyes, too scared to look. Annie was calling to me but I could barely hear her above the screaming of gulls and the crashing waves below. ‘Richard, quick, quick. Look up! Give me your hand.’ But I didn’t want to open my eyes. I knelt, holding on to a small piece of rock that stuck out from the cliff face. ‘I can’t.’ My voice was only a whisper. ‘Come on, Richard. Come on. It’s not so far. See, my hand is just above you. I can pull you back up. Look!’ So I opened my eyes and there was Annie with her hand almost touching the top of my head. I reached up slowly, my fingers icy and shaking. ‘That’s it. That’s it. Come on.’ We heard Grandfather shouting our names and at that moment I felt Annie’s hand grab the tips of my fingers and then my wrist. ‘Now, hold tight. I’m going to pull you up. Hold on.’ I thought my arm would break. The pain shot through me. I was too scared to look up but I listened to Annie’s voice. ‘I have you. We’re almost there. Hold on. You’re nearly up.’

I wanted to scream but my voice was gone. My legs were shaking. The wind hurt my ears. I searched for footholds in the cliff face with my knees and feet, scrabbling to get up. Annie held onto my wrist and, after what seemed like a long time, I gripped the top of the cliff and was able to pull myself up to the flat grass where Annie lay. Her arms were bleeding where she had scraped them on the rocks. I heard Grandfather calling us again. A few minutes later he came stumbling across the grass. He was out of breath. ‘Are ye all right?’ he asked. ‘I got worried.’ I stood up but I was a little dizzy so I sat back again beside Annie. Grandfather took out his handkerchief and mopped her arms. ‘What happened?’ ‘I fell,’ I managed to whisper. ‘Annie saved me.’ Grandfather shook his head as if he could not believe our luck. ‘Well, lad you have yourself a brave friend here in Annie.’ ‘I know,’ I said. ‘Thanks Annie.’ She smiled. Her lips were blue and trembling. ‘We’d better get back. Your father will be landing soon.’ We could hear him whistling before we saw the boat. He had had a good catch. We walked slowly towards the pier. By the time the boat pulled in, my arms and legs were beginning to feel better and I was no longer limping. Grandfather said nothing about the fall and neither did Annie. She pulled her jumper over the scratches on her arms. We would never again go on a trip if my father knew what I had done. But it was all I could think about on the way home and all that night. Grandfather was right – Annie had been very brave.

We went back to playing on the beach every day and feeding the swans at the slipway. The winter set in and the weather worsened. The fishing catch got smaller and smaller. One day, as I came home from the beach, Grandfather called to me from his usual place. ‘Come here lad, it’s time I taught you a bit about carving.’ I sat on a low stool beside him and took the small knife and piece of bogwood he handed me. Then I watched his hands and copied what he did as best I could. I grew tired of holding the knife but all the same I stayed by his chair, my eyes fixed on his hands. The first thing he taught me to carve was a Galway hooker, which is a boat with two sails. It took me three afternoons and, when it was finished, Grandfather patted my head. ‘Now go and show your mother,’ he said.” pdf extract

 

Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, “The Surprise”

“My people – before I was changed – they exchanged this as a sign of devotion. It’s a Claddagh ring. The hands represent friendship, the crown represents loyalty … and the heart … Well, you know … Wear it with the heart pointing towards you. It means you belong to somebody. Like this.” Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, Episode “The Surprise”.

Nuala O’Faolain, Irish Times Magazine (2001)

“The governor of New York, for example, mentioned recently that roughly 200 Claddagh rings had been recovered already. I suppose that might have something to do with the number of Irish-Americans lost.” Nuala O’Faolain, Irish Times Magazine, 3rd November 2001.

Murmur Galway: The Claddagh

galway.murmur.info

galway.murmur.info

http://galway.murmur.info/place.php?420511

“[murmur] is a documentary oral history project that records stories and memories told about specific geographic locations. We collect and make accessible people’s personal histories and anecdotes about the places in their neighborhoods that are important to them. In each of these locations we install a [murmur] sign with a telephone number on it that anyone can call with a mobile phone to listen to that story while standing in that exact spot, and engaging in the physical experience of being right where the story takes place. Some stories suggest that the listener walk around, following a certain path through a place, while others allow a person to wander with both their feet and their gaze.
The stories we record range from personal recollections to more “historic” stories, or sometimes both — but always are told from a personal point of view, as if the storyteller is just out for a stroll and was casually talking about their neighbourhood to a friend. It’s history from the ground up, told by the voices that are often overlooked when the stories of cities are told. We know about the skyscrapers, sports stadiums and landmarks, but [murmur] looks for the intimate, neighbourhood-level voices that tell the day-to-day  stories that make up a city. The smallest, greyest or most nondescript building can be transformed by the stories that live in it. Once heard, these stories can change the way people think about that place and the city at large.
All our stories are available on the [murmur] website, but their details truly come alive as the listener walks through, around, and into the narrative. By engaging with [murmur], people develop a new intimacy with places, and “history” acquires a multitude of new voices.
The physical experience of hearing a story in its actual setting – of hearing the walls talk – brings uncommon knowledge to common space, and brings people closer to the real  histories that make up their world.
The stories are as personal as the relationship people have with the spaces they inhabit. Secret histories are unearthed, private truths unveiled and tales as diverse as the city itself are discovered and shared. All members of a community are encouraged to participate and contribute, so that the “voice” of [murmur] reflects the diverse voices of the neighbourhood.
These are the stories that make up the city’s identity, but they’re kept inside of the heads of the people who live here. [murmur] brings that important archive out onto the streets, for all to hear and experience, and is always looking for new stories to add to it’s existing locations.”

http://galway.murmur.info/place.php?420511

BBC Radio Ulster: The Claddagh Ring

p01h07yh“The Claddagh Ring is one of Ireland’s most recognisable exports, worn from Africa to America to Asia. It is a popular piece of jewellery worldwide yet its origins and symbolism aren’t always understood. In this Valentines Day special, the old romantic Gerry Anderson goes in search of the story of the ‘Fainne Cladach’, right back to it’s origins in Roman times.

In this inspiring programme, Gerry travels to the town of Claddagh in Galway and speak to folklorists and storytellers. He spends time with traditional jewellers making a Claddagh Ring from scratch. He hears myths and legends surrounding the origins of the ring and tries to fathom the various supposed meanings behind the hands, heart and crown. And he talks to the current King of the Claddagh, a man who must surely be able to shed some light on a piece of jewellery that has travelled the four corners of the world, just as the Irish themselves have.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00ykv52