ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Irish Legend of the Claddagh Ring

Updated on March 9, 2012

An Irish Legend for your Delectation; Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The Irish legend of the Claddagh Ring (pronounced kla-da) has its roots in the tiny town of Claddagh,somewhat near Galway, in Ireland. The sea is close; the folk are fishermen by long tradition. And when they pledge their troth, they do so with a Claddagh ring. The ring is two hands circling a heart of stone, topped by a crown, representing head, heart and hands, given in loving faith and loyalty forever.

The motto of the Claddagh ring is: "Let love and friendship reign."

This Claddagh ring is a popular design the world over. Many people who have never set foot in Claddagh, or Galway, or Ireland for that matter, use it as a wedding band. On a somber note: when the 9/11 disaster occurred at the World Trade Center, in New York, people looking for their loved ones who were lost in the turmoil and wreckage of its aftermath, contacted rescue agencies and identified the missing person by the Claddagh ring they were wearing. The only problem was, there were over 200 Claddagh rings reclaimed from Ground Zero.

There is more than one legend of the Claddagh ring and its origins. This is the one I like best:

The story begins with Margaret Joyce (yes, a distant relation of the famous James Joyce) in the late 1500's. Margaret, of Galway, later became known as "Margaret of the Bridges" because she philanthropically built several bridges using her own money.

Margaret was so very beautiful in her youth, that she caught the eye of a wealthy Spanish merchant, who fell instantly in love with her, while she was washing the family laundry along the riverbanks of Claddagh. After a whirlwind romance, Margaret and her Spanish lover became man and wife, and he whisked her away to Spain on his merchant ship.

Margaret was not married long before she became a widow. Her husband, Domingo de Rona, was not a young man, and who knows? it could be that the sudden strain of much marital relations was more than his poor heart could take.

Margaret was a wealthy young widow, and homesick for Ireland, so she moved back to her native land, where she almost instantly attracted the eye of the Mayor of Galway, Oliver Og ffrench. They married, and soon after the Mayor travelled a great deal, leaving Margaret with time on her hands.

Being young and rich and beautiful, and being left alone by her husband, does not usually accord with public works. In Margaret's case, it did., however. She began building bridges using her own fortune...

Margaret built many stone bridges across the Connemara region, going from site to site, overseeing the work personally and in detail. It happened one day, that Margaret was sitting on the parapet of an unfinished bridge, eating her lunch, when an eagle dropped in her lap the very first golden Claddagh ring. It was a reward from heaven above for her unselfish pursuits in her husband's absence and her charity and good works.

Claddagh

A
claddagh:
Claddagh, Dooniver, Co. Mayo, Ireland

get directions

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 

      5 years ago from Isle of Man

      Beautiful hub, I love it. Did you also know that depending on how the ring is worn signifies whether the girl is married or single and available? Thank you.

    • Paradise7 profile imageAUTHOR

      Paradise7 

      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, and I'm so glad to share this story with the possessors of Claddagh rings.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 

      6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      This is a lovely hub and what a lovely story behind the origin of the Claddagh Ring. They are very beautiful rings and we have one in our family that belonged to my Granny Murphy! It's a very treasured keepsake. Like Kitty, I never knew the legend behind the ring, so this was a really fascinating insight into this lovely piece of jewelry.

      Really interesting hub + voted up!

    • Paradise7 profile imageAUTHOR

      Paradise7 

      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      They are lovely rings so therefore very suitable for your lovely finger! Happy St. Patrick's Day, and thank you for visiting!

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      Wonderful story Paradise. I am part Irish and love hearing these...What a timely hub for St. Patrick's Day tomorrow.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Kitty Fields 

      6 years ago from Summerland

      I've always been drawn to Ireland and everything Irish. I'm only about 25% Irish, but I feel I've lived there before. Loved this story, Paradise. Super intriguing and honestly I've never heard the legend of the Claddagh Ring even though I own one! Thanks so much.

    • Paradise7 profile imageAUTHOR

      Paradise7 

      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, sofs.

    • sofs profile image

      Sophie 

      6 years ago

      Wow! What a great story... I have never heard of these rings before.. the design seems to be perfect for a wedding band.. maybe I should consider this for our next anniversary... seems like a lovely gift to give your spouse... :) Thanks for sharing. Have a lovely day.

    • Paradise7 profile imageAUTHOR

      Paradise7 

      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, Pandula.

    • pandula77 profile image

      Dr Pandula 

      6 years ago from Norway

      A wonderful insight to a great tradition and a piece of history. Thanks!

    • Paradise7 profile imageAUTHOR

      Paradise7 

      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, Laura, I think it's pretty cool, too. A lot of Irish legends are really great stories, and it seems in Ireland, there's a story behind EVERYTHING!

    • Laura in Denver profile image

      Laura Deibel 

      6 years ago from Aurora

      Cool. I never knew the origins other than it was Irish.

    • Paradise7 profile imageAUTHOR

      Paradise7 

      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      You're very welcome, Mark, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • Paradise7 profile imageAUTHOR

      Paradise7 

      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for the comment, Mega. I love this story, and many things Irish or Celtic. I'm glad you enjoyed it, too.

    • mega1 profile image

      mega1 

      6 years ago

      You always pick such interesting topics! This is one I've wondered about before. Thanks for the great info.

    • profile image

      markbennis 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for this fantastic read of historic facts, much I never knew before hand but do now, great hub!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)