“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
- in friendship: on the right hand, with the point of the heart towards the fingertip.
- engagement: on the right hand, with heart pointing to the wrist.
- 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.