The Claddagh story

The hand signifies friendship

The crown loyalty

And the heart love.

Green and misty fables surround the story of Ireland’s unique symbol of love and friendship: the CLADDAGH  RING.

The tradition of the Claddagh symbol dates back to the 16th century, when Richard Joyce, a native of Galway, was captured by Algerian pirates while on his way to the West Indies. He was then sold as a slave to a wealthy Moorish goldsmith who trained him in the craft. His master took a great liking to him and offered him his freedom, which Richard very happily accepted.

When at last he returned to his beloved Claddagh, he turned his fine skills to the creation of a jewel that would be renowned as an emblem of love and friendship:

Two hands cradling a crowned heart.

Today the village of Claddagh may all but have vanished, but its golden legacy remains and continues to grow in popularity, and is known internationally as a sign of great friendship and love.


Wear the ring on the RIGHT hand,

the crown turned INWARDS,

and the world may see the heart is yet unoccupied.

Worn on the RIGHT hand,

the crown turned OUTWARDS,

and ’tis clear that a love is being considered.

But when it is worn on the LEFT hand,

the crown turned OUTWARDS,

two loves have become inseparable.