Category Archives: Claddagh Library

Irish Wedding Traditions

We thought you might like to read this article from IrishCentral Five old Irish wedding traditions you may not know about: tying the knot, the blue dress, a porcelain horseshoe, Claddagh ring, and wedding bells. Lovely picture of the Claddagh ring by the way – a classic.

 

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West and the Claddagh Ring

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Seems Kim Kardashian and Kanye West spent their private honeymoon in Ireland’s romantic Castle Oliver. I can’t say I even know who Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are. They do look lovely and are obviously famous to someone. They certainly make the news. Castle Oliver, I can honestly report is indeed a magical red sandstone Victorian era Scottish Baronial style ‘castle’ in the foothills of the Ballyhouras in County Limerick – a perfect private retreat. (Apparently it also has the largest wine-cellar in Ireland. What’s not to like.)

How we know I can’t imagine but the celebrity pages have reported that Kanye West bought his wife a solid silver Claddagh ring before they left for Prague – certainly fitting for a honeymoon in an Irish castle. Of all the over-the-top and of all the expensive blinginess which appears to surround them this is definitely one authentic, elegant, and nicely ordinary part of the story. We can’t take it away from him that he bought the Claddagh in the airport gift shop (according to the Herald). Irish Central report it was “very expensive” though I very much doubt it. A Claddagh ring is a Claddagh ring – it comes in one flavour here in Ireland: ordinary, real, traditional, and most importantly, authentic. (Let’s hope she wears it and it talks to her in her sleep. Authentic is good.)

“Romantic rap star Kanye West splashed out on a silver Claddagh ring for new wife Kim Kardashian before the newlyweds left Ireland.

The All of the Lights hit maker reportedly made sure the reality TV star had a heartfelt memento to remember her time here.

They enjoyed four nights in some of Ireland’s most luxurious places before jetting off to Prague on their private plane.”  Irish Mirror, 30th May 2014.

Last weekend, Kim Kardashian decorated her already bling-tastic fingers with a beautiful wedding ring when she married Kanye West, and if reports are to be believed it seems that this week she added another poignant ring to her accessories collection.

According to the Irish Mirror, the rapper treated his bride to a silver Claddagh ring before they left the Emerald Isle as a keepsake from their romantic Irish honeymoon. While many were surprised that the superstar pair shunned a more tropical getaway with white sandy beaches for the unreliable Irish climate, reports suggest that the couple enjoyed a relaxing and private holiday.” RSVP Magazine, 31st May, 2014.

“KIM Kardashian is the proud owner of a silver Claddagh ring – a memento bought for her by her new husband Kanye West.

They boarded the plane out of sight of the assembled media but, in the minutes before they left, Kanye sent one of his personal assistants into the airport duty free to purchase a number of Irish-themed gifts for family and friends.

The most elegant of these was a solid silver Claddagh ring which he presented to Kim as the plane began its take-off.” Herald, 30th May, 2014.

“Kimye’s Irish trip cost the couple $60,000, including a very expensive claddagh ring Kanye bought for his bride. However Irish tourism experts say the visit was “priceless” in terms of showcasing Ireland to a new generation of Americans.

The couple flew out of Ireland yesterday having cut their stay short by two days to go to Prague in the Czech Republic and then back to the US at the weekend.

Their stay in Ireland was a last minute decision, as bride Kim wanted to retrace her parents’ honeymoon, which also took place in the Emerald Isle.

Buying her a claddagh ring was also something her stepfather, Olympic champion Bruce Jenner, also did for his new wife.” Irish Central, 30th May, 2014.

Dublin Castle Hallmark

 

Dublin Castle, Ireland

Dublin Castle, Ireland

Crafted for Royal Claddagh in Dublin by master goldsmiths in the heart of Ireland’s capital city (est. 1907), the Royal Claddagh ring continues the centuries old tradition of the Galway Claddagh dating back to the 17th Century.

All Royal Claddagh rings and jewellery are heirloom quality solid gold and silver, stamped “Made in Ireland“, and more importantly officially assayed: tested for purity, and hallmarked for their quality and Irish origin by the Company of Goldsmiths in Dublin Castle. Genuine Irish Royal Claddagh rings continue a centuries old tradition and legal imperative of official hallmarking in Dublin Castle of all Irish gold, silver and platinum jewellery made in Ireland. This guarantees all its jewellery for authenticity and quality.

Under Irish law in 1637, pre-dating the ring, in the reign of Charles I, all jewellery of precious metals must be stamped with the official hallmark – the traditional letter symbol for the year it was crafted, a fineness mark guaranteeing the purity of the metal, and the official insignia of the Irish Assay Office in Dublin Castle.

The Company of Goldsmiths, as it is called, was formed, when on 22 December 1637 it was granted a charter by Charles I. The orders in this charter continue to this day and continue in the Acts of the modern Irish parliament – Dáil Éireann. It remains an offence to misrepresent the quality of jewellery under Irish law.

“5.-Subject to section 6 of this Act, a person who in the course of trade or business applies to any article which is not of precious metal a description indicating or specifying that the article is made wholly or partly of gold, silver or platinum, or who supplies or offers to supply or has in his possession for sale such an article to which such a description is applied, is guilty of the offence under section 2 of the Merchandise Marks Act, 1887, of applying a false trade description.”Hallmarking Act, 1981.

14ct Gold

 Royal Claddagh gold rings are hallmarked solid gold. A precious metal, pure gold is too malleable to work with and must be mixed in an alloy before it is strong enough to form jewellery. Carats (ct) in gold refer to the amount of pure gold in the metal. 14 carat (fineness 585) represents 14 parts in 24 – a purer gold than 9ct but remaining a strong durable alloy.

9ct Gold

Royal Claddagh gold rings are hallmarked solid gold. A precious metal, pure gold is too malleable to work with and must be mixed in an alloy before it is strong enough to form jewellery. Carats (ct) in gold refer to the amount of pure gold in the metal. 9ct (fineness 375) represents 9 parts gold in 24 – a strong durable alloy with all the beauty and shine of solid gold.

Sterling Silver

Royal Claddagh silver rings are hallmarked Sterling silver and stamped 925. Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. The minimum millesimal fineness is 925 – a standard of 925 parts of fine silver in each 1000. As with gold, on its own the pure precious silver metal is too weak for jewellery and is always worked as an alloy. The Sterling silver standard is its guarantee of purity.

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle, where every ring must still be hallmarked. was the seat of British rule in Ireland until 1922.  While the building itself mainly dates from eighteenth century, a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland. The Castle served as the seat of British government of Ireland under the Lordship of Ireland (1171-1541), Kingdom of Ireland (1541-1800) and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1800-1922).

It fulfilled a number of roles over the centuries. It was first and foremost a royal residence, resided in by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland or Viceroy of Ireland, the representative of the King or Queen. The Viceregal Apartments (now called the State Apartments) remain one of the most splendid sites in Dublin, and are the location of the inauguration of the President of Ireland. The second in command in the Dublin Castle administration, the Chief Secretary of Ireland, also had his offices there. Over the years, parliament and the law courts met there, before moving to new purpose-built venues. It also served as a military garrison.

Every Royal Claddagh in the world has been here first.

Molly Bloom

“I wanted to give him a memento he gave me that clumsy Claddagh ring for luck that I gave Gardner going to south Africa where those Boers killed him with their war and fever but they were well beaten all the same as if it brought its bad luck with it like an opal or pearl still it must have been pure 18 carrot gold because it was very heavy but what could you get in a place like that”

Molly Bloom’s Soliloquy, Ulysses by James Joyce.

Galway Bay

If you ever go across the sea to Ireland
Then maybe at the closing of your day
You will sit and watch the moon rise over Claddagh
And see the sun go down on Galway Bay

Just to hear again the ripple of the trout stream
The women in the meadows making hay
And to sit beside a turf fire in the cabin
And watch the barefoot gosoons at their play.

For the breezes blowing over the seas from Ireland
Are perfumed by the heather as it blows
And the women in the uplands diggin’ praties
Speak a language that the strangers do not know

For the strangers came and tried to teach us their way
They scorn’d us just for being what we are
But they might as well go chasing after moonbeams
Or light a penny candle from a star.

And if there is going to be a life hereafter
And somehow I am sure there’s going to be
I well ask my God to let me make my heaven
In that dear land across the Irish sea.

Bing Crosby, 1947
(written by Dr. Arthur Colahan)

The Old Claddagh Ring

The Old Claddagh Ring, it was my grandmother’s
She wore it a lifetime, and gave it to me
All through the long years, she wore it so proudly
It was made where the Claddagh rolls down to the sea
What tales it could tell, of trials and of hardship
And of grand happy days, when the whole world did sing
So away with your sorrow, it will bring luck tomorrow
Sure everyone loves it, the Old Claddagh Ring

With the crown and the crest, to remind us of honour
And clasping the heart that God’s blessing would bring
A circle of gold, always kept homes contented
With true love entwined in the Old Claddagh Ring
As she knelt at her prayers and thought of the dear ones
Her soft gentle smile, it would charm a king
On her worn hand, as she told me her story
You could see the bright glint of the Old Claddagh Ring

It was her gift to me, and it made me so happy
With this on my finger, my heart beats would ring
No king on his throne could be half so happy
As I am when wearing my Old Claddagh Ring
When the angels above call me up to heaven
In the heart of the Claddagh, their voices will sing
“Away with your sorrows, you’ll be with us tomorrow,
Be sure and bring with you, the Old Claddagh Ring”.

Emma’s Fantasique Word Play

emmasfantasique“Both the children and the parents got a question about the Royal Claddagh Ring.

The parents scratched their heads. What are the parts of the Royal Claddagh Ring?

The child were stationed back-to-back. Manny read their question, What is the poem about the Royal Claddagh ring?

Emma started typing, With this crown, I give my loyalty. With these hands, I offer my service. With this heart, I give you mine. In love, in friendship, let us reign. Ana had shared this poem with her many times, for she knew that Emma loved poetry.

Their parents were on the brink of giving up. All of the sudden, Samantha Miller recalled the recent tragedy of actress Natasha Richardson, who had died after hitting her head during a ski accident. According to a news report, her mahogany coffin had been emblazoned with the Royal Claddagh symbol, signifying love, friendship, and loyalty.

Samantha couldn’t remember what the three symbols were.

“Okay, let’s say a heart for love,” Tom told her. She typed it in. They were stuck. There was fifty seconds left.

Samantha started twisting her wrist. Then she took two right fingers and started twisting them around her wedding ring. She recalled that Ana, Emma’s Irish friend, had a ring with a heart on it. But it had two more things. Anna had shown it to her. What were the other two things?

Tom pointed out that the question said Royal, but she dismissed him. She wondered  whether the new article might have said love, friendship, and royalty. Then she remembered that there was a crown on top of the heart. Tom was right! She type in Crown”.

Emma’s Fantasique Word Play by Shirley A. Franklin

 

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”.