Claddagh Ring Meaning – Love, Friendship, Loyalty & Ireland

silver claddagh ring meanings

The Claddagh Revival

The Claddagh ring meaning has a rich history which dates back to late 17th Century Ireland, the popularity of the Claddagh ring enjoyed somewhat of a revival in the late 1990s. The Claddagh symbol is probably one of the most iconic symbols of Irish heritage and is a traditional ring.

The Claddagh is one of the most prominent of Irish symbols. It can also be used signify the love status of the wearer. They are popular Irish wedding rings and one of the most well-known symbols of Celtic jewelry..

Of course meaningful and symbolic jewellery has always captured peoples hearts but this has been an upward trend in recent years.

A few celebrities have been spotted wearing Claddagh rings, where they like to demonstrate their Irish heritage and this has sparked further interest in the design.

The Significance of the Claddagh Ring

The Claddagh ring meaning holds huge significance, both to the theme of love and to the country of Ireland. For those with Irish roots, it is a ring to wear with immense pride.

The Claddagh rings meaning of love, friendship and loyalty also makes it a ring that people hold very close to their hearts. If someone has gifted you a Claddagh ring, it’s a touching gift indeed.

You can find other Claddagh jewellery but Claddagh rings are by far the most popular type of jewellery where this emblem is used.

The Pronounciation of Claddagh

Claddagh is pronounced Clad-ah (the ‘gh’ at the end is silent).

The Design of a Claddagh Ring

A Claddagh Ring design features a pair of hands, a heart and a crown.Whilst the crowned heart is present in almost all design, occasionally the crown is missing. The heart can sometimes be a heart-shaped gemstone.

The Meaning of the Claddagh Ring

The hands, reaching to touch and clasp the other, signifying friendship
The heart signifies true love.
The crown signifies loyalty.

History of the Claddagh Ring

The history of the Claddagh ring, dates back to a fishing village in the west of Ireland in the last 17th Century.  An Irish man called Richard Joyce, was on a sailing ship going to West Africa in 1675 when he was captured by pirates. He was then sold as a slave to a Moorish goldsmith in Algeria, who trained him to make jewellery. Richard Joyce was kept as a slave for 14 years, until King William III sent an ambassador to Algeria, demanding the release of all British subjects.


When he eventually gained his freedom, Richard Joyce returned to Galway, Ireland, and brought with him a ring he had made in captivity. He gave the ring to his sweetheart, whom he later married.

This ring became known as the Irish Claddagh ring and, consequently, symbolises qualities of love

When Are Claddagh Rings Given?

With the symbolism literally designed into this ring, Claddagh rings are often used as an engagement or a Claddagh wedding ring instead of a wedding band and is a symbol of love. But this traditional Irish ring is so much more than that. It is often given as a friendship ring

There was a tradition for mothers to gift their first Claddagh ring to their eldest daughter and/or a grandmother to gift one to her granddaughter. It is also often given as a pre-engagement ring.

How You Wear a Claddagh Ring

There is great meaning attached to how you wear a Claddagh ring – both in the ring’s direction worn on your finger and also on which hand it is worn – even more so than with an engagement ring. It is said to signify the wearer’s romantic availability.

Claddagh rings are worn on the third finger of the hand – the ring finger – (although there is no reason you can’t wear a Claddagh ring on any finger).


You can wear the ring with the point of the heart towards your wrist or towards your fingertips, and there are different meanings attributed to the ring’s direction when worn.

A Claddagh Ring Worn On the Right Hand

When a claddagh ring is worn on the right and and the bottom of the heart points away from you, towards the fingertips, it signifies that you are single and may be open to looking for love.


If you wear a Claddagh ring with the bottom of the heart pointing towards your wrist and arm, it means you are in a relationship and are not looking for love.

A Claddagh Ring Worn on Your Left Hand

If you wear a Claddagh ring on the ring finger of your left hand with the bottom of the heart pointing away from you, towards your fingertips, it means you are engaged.

On your left hand, if you wear your Claddagh ring with the bottom of your heart towards your wrist and body, it indicates you’re married and in a committed relationship.

For the Love of Ireland

Claddagh rings are unarguably Irish and are named after the little town in Galway, from which their design and creation have originated.

Because of its huge affinity with Ireland, many love to wear a Claddagh ring to show their connection and love for the Emerald Isle. This includes many celebrities.

Celebrities Who Wear Claddagh Rings

Here are just a few of the celebrities shown wearing their Claddagh rings.

Walt Disney often wore a Claddagh ring as he was very proud of his Irish roots.

John F Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy purchased claddagh rings when they visited Galway in Ireland in 1963.

Daniel Day-Lewis famously wears his claddagh ring, although English, he lives in Ireland and loves the country, and has even taken out citizenship.

Liam and Noel Gallagher have been known to wear Claddagh rings.

Dermot O’Leary was gifted a claddagh ring by his mother. His parents moved from Ireland to England before he was born and have since moved back to their home country.

Mia Farrow, the actress, has worn a Claddagh ring because of her Irish roots.

Jim Morrison famously wore a gold Claddagh ring and his wife wore a silver one, after exchanging Celtic marriage vows.

Jennifer Anniston exchanged Claddagh rings with her boyfriend, Tate Donnovan.

Other Claddagh Jewelry

Whilst the original Claddagh design was incorporated into a ring, Claddagh jewelry of all sorts has gained in popularity. This includes Claddagh bracelets, earrings and Claddagh necklaces.

Used to signify Irish culture it’s a lovely gift to yourself and it’s also a popular choice used to signify love and friendship

To Sum Up …

The symbolism and meaning not just for Irish heritage but love, loyalty, and friendship which is all bound up in this fabulous design. The hero’s journey story of the initial designer and creator of the Claddagh ring as a love token, where love triumphed all is worthy of a blockbuster film and is incredibly touching.

In our opinion, the the Irish tradition is wrapped up in a Claddagh ring and it deserves more recognition for the meaning it in holds and we hope its popularity increases even more, not just in Irish jewelry.

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