Tag Archives: book

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.

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.

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


Down by the River


Book Cover: Down by the River

Book Cover: Down by the River

No one will get near him again, no one will drag from him that troth which he has been keeping for the right woman and which even in his cretiny he had once believed Angie to be, had settled on the ring he would buy, the Claddagh ring, with two hands plaited on a golden mount, the symbol of two plaited natures. O lost enchantments.”

Edna O’Brien, “Down by the River“, Plume, 1998.

Jim Morrison’s (The Doors) Secret Claddagh Wedding


Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison

“’Love Hides’ sounds like it may be some romantically inspired improvisation on Morrison’s part, but in fact it was a poem he’d written for Patricia Kennealy Morrison. By the time Absolutely Live was released, the two were deeply involved and had been joined together in a Celtic handfasting ceremony. Their June 1970 marriage was not legally binding, but it was understood to be an exchange of solemn and lasting vows by practitioners of Celtic witchcraft (not to be confused with Satanism). Kennealy and Morrison exchanged traditional Irish wedding rings called claddaghs, which depicted hands holding a crowned heart. Hers was silver, his was gold.”

The Doors: When the Music’s over (Stories Behind Every Song Series); Chuck Crisafulli, Dave Dimartino; p.115

Donnie Brasco’s Claddagh Ring

Cover image of the book Donnie Brasco, My Undercover Life in the Mafia

Cover image of the book Donnie Brasco, My Undercover Life in the Mafia

In “Donnie Brasco”, the former FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone recounts his undercover life as Mafia jewel thief. Where even the smallest detail of this undercover life was important, the author recounts how his simple Claddagh ring What is interesting, of course given the major contribution of Irish culture to American, is recognisability of the ring in American life; but also the personal insight into the agent’s commitment to the ring given to him by his wife: “The only time I take the ring off is when I work out lifting weights. I wore it during the whole operation”.

On the Fourth of July weekend Jilly had a cookout for everybody. He had a house down at the Jersey Shore, in Seaside Heights, a block from the beach, and he had all the guys down with their wives and girlfriends.

I went to Fretta’s, the Italian meat market in Little Italy, and bought sausages and cold cuts and cheeses and took it down there for the cookout.

I wasn’t married, of course. Supposedly I had a couple of girlfriends here and there, but I never brought any of them around. The guys used to get on me sometimes about never bringing a girl around, but I told them there wasn’t anybody I cared enough about.

I always wear an Irish Claddagh ring that my wife gave me. It has hands holding a heart, and a crown on it, symbolizing love, friendship, and loyalty. Nobody had ever mentioned the ring.

We were sitting outside at this picnic table, and one of the guys’ girlfriends says, “That’s a nice ring you go on, Don. That’s an Irish Claddagh ring, isn’t it?”


Aren’t those rings for love? Aren’t they used as wedding rings?”

Yeah, sometimes,” I say. One of the guys asks about it, and I go into the history and so forth.

The she says, “Well, what are you wearing it for? I didn’t think you were married or anything.”

No, I’m not. But one of the few girls I was ever in love with gave it to me. Then a couple months later she jilted me. I keep wearing it because I don’t ever want to forget her.”

One of the guys looks puzzled. He says, “You sure you’re not married?”


Because I just can’t figure it out. You mean, you loved that girl so much that you keep wearing that ring after she jilted you?”

Sure, why not?”

I just didn’t think you were of guy that could love anybody. You know, the way that you’re here, you’re there, you go no allegiance, no ties to anybody.”

Well, there always comes a time in somebody’s life when there’s a girl that you love, somebody that’s special, so I’d rather remember it than forget about it. I just want to wear the ring, that’s all. What’s the difference to anybody else?”

The only time I take the ring off is when I work out lifting weights. I wore it during the whole operation. And that was the only time anybody ever mentioned it.”

Joseph D. Pistone, “Donnie Brasco”, Signet, 1997, ISBN 0451192575.

James Bond and the Claddagh Ring: Goldfinger

Book cover: Goldfinger.

In Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel “Goldfinger”, the gold Claddagh ring makes a simple appearance without explanation – sent to Bond by Jill before her murder as a message of love and again symbolically shot through by the villian’s arrow. Interestingly the Claddagh ring was introduced without it’s history and story; an almost intimate detail in Ian Fleming’s only for readers already aware of the significance of the ring. “The tiny gold circle, silhouetted against the trunk of the tree, glittered in the moonlight.”

“Suddenly she reached out and put a hand on his sleeve. There was a Claddagh ring on the middle finger – two gold hands clasped round a gold heart. There were tears in her voice. ‘Must you? Can’t you leave him along? I don’t know what he’ll do to me. Please.’ She hesitated. She was blushing furiously. ‘And I like you. It’s a long time since I’ve seen someone like you. Couldn’t you stay here for a little more?’ She looked down at the ground. ‘If only you’d leave him along I’d do -‘ the words came out in a rush – ‘I’d do anything.’
Bond smiled. He took the girl’s hand off his arm and squeezed it. ‘Sorry. I’m being paid to do this job and I must do it. Anyway -‘ his voice went flat – ‘I want to do it. It’s time someone cut Mr Goldfinger down to size. Ready?’

‘I knew what had happened to Jill. Goldfinger had had her painted all over. He had murdered her. It must have been out of revenge for – for going with you.’ There as a pause. The girl said dully, ‘She told me about you. She – she liked you. She told me if ever I met you I was to give you this ring.’
Bond closed his eyes tight, fighting with a wave of mental nausea. More death! More blood on his hands. This time, as the result of a careless gesture, a piece of bravado that had led to twenty-four hours of ecstasy with a beautiful girl who had taken his fancy and, in the end, rather more than his fancy. And this petty sideswipe at Goldfinger’s ego had been returned by Goldfinger a thousand, a millionfold. ‘She left my employ’ – the flat words in the sunshine at Sandwich two days before. How Goldfinger must have enjoyed saying that! Bond’s fingernails dug into the palms of his hands. By Gold, he’d pin this murder on Goldfinger if it was the last act of his life. As for himself …? Bond knew the answer. This death he would not be able to excuse as being part of his job. This death he would have to live with.
The girl was pulling at her finger – at the Claddagh ring, the entwined hands round the gold heart. She put her knuckle to her mouth. The ring came off. She held it up for Bond to take. The tiny gold circle, silhouetted against the trunk of the tree, glittered in the moonlight.
The noise in Bond’s ear was something between a hiss and a shrill whistle. There was a dry, twanging thud. The aluminium feathers of the steel arrow trembled like a humming bird’s wings in front of Bond’s eyes. The shaft of the arrow straightened. The gold ring tinkled down the shaft until it reached the bark of the tree.”