Buongiorno a tutti, come state? Siamo ancora all’inizio del nuovo anno, la festa di San Valentino si avvicina e magari porta anche qualche proposta di matrimonio, perciò oggi con Emma andiamo a parlare del Claddagh Ring, l’anello di fidanzamento irlandese.
Hello everyone, how are you? We are still at the beginning of the new year, Valentine’s Day is approaching and maybe it also brings some marriage proposals, so today with Emma we are going to talk about the Claddagh Ring, the Irish engagement ring.
Let’s find out the history of this traditional ring together: The Claddagh Ring (Claddagh Ring) is an Irish engagement ring, consisting of two hands holding a heart topped with a crown. The hands symbolize friendship, the crown symbolizes loyalty and the heart of love. This ring owes its name to a fishing village on Galway Bay, in Ireland, called “claddagh” (a word that in Gaelic indicates the rocky sand typical of that area). However, it is also very popular in Scotland, where many Irish have moved. In Ireland, depending on how it is worn, it symbolizes different feelings:
– Search for a sentimental bond or demonstration of being free from bonds: the ring is worn on the ring finger of the right hand, with the tip of the heart facing the fingertips;
– Sentimental bond: ring finger of the right hand, with the point of the heart pointed towards the wrist;
– Official engagement: the ring is worn on the ring finger of the left hand, with the tip of the heart pointed towards the fingertips;
– Marriage: ring finger of the left hand, with the tip of the heart pointed towards the wrist. For the many people who had to leave Ireland during the 19th century famine, the Claddagh Ring has become the only lasting link with their homeland and the only family legacy. It was precisely around the time of the famine that the ring began to become popular outside Connemara. In this period it became a precious reminder of the origins of the family, a symbol of the link with the past, transferred from the mother to the eldest daughter for centuries. Next to the Claddagh Ring, there is another ring, called the “Fenian ring” and dating back to about 200 years ago, characterized by the presence of two hands and two hearts, without a crown. Such a ring would represent the battle for the Republic of Ireland, albeit, the Claddagh Traditional ring has always remained the real model (with the crown as a symbol of the loyalty, in memory of the Irish Kingdom and the British heritage).
Where does each symbol that makes up the Claddagh Ring come from?
To find out, you have to go far back in time, to the age of the Celtic gods. Dagda, the father of the gods, was a powerful being, with the ability to make the sun shine, according to legend the right hand of the ring belongs to him. Anu (goddess later known as Danu), was the ancestor and universal mother of the Celts, and it is she which appears to represent the left hand of the Claddagh Ring. The crown represents Beathauile (name meaning “whole life”), which it doesn’t seem to be a person or a god, but it appears to represent the life principle and life itself. Finally, the heart represents the hearts of every member of humanity. Another interpretation of the meaning of the ring is closely related to the clover, one of the oldest Irish symbols.
This interpretation has it that the crown is the Father, the left hand the Son and the hand right the Holy Spirit, all concentrated on the heart in the center, which symbolizes humanity. Through every symbolism, however, a theme always recurs, namely that the ring symbolizes love, loyalty and friendship, in Gaelic language, “Gra, Dilseacht agus Cairdeas” The legend of the Claddagh Ring is the story of the mystical and beautiful ring, told for the first seen over 300 years ago in the ancient fishing village of Claddagh, outside the walls of Galway city.
Passed from generation to generation, this romantic story centers on a man named Richard Joyce and the ring he created. Legend has it that shortly before getting married, a fisherman Richard Joyce was caught in sea by pirates and sold as a slave in Algeria. It became the property of a wealthy Moorish goldsmith, who sensing its potential began to train him in his art. Over time Richard Joyce became a skilled craftsman and with his girlfriend in mind, he fashioned the first Claddagh ring. The heart symbolizes love, the hands representing friendship and the crown symbolizing loyalty and fidelity. In 1689 after an agreement with King William III to free all his subjects kept in slavery, Richard Joyce found himself a free man again. His master, who was now very fond of him, offered his only daughter in marriage and half of his wealth if he stayed in Algiers, but Joyce refused and returned to Galway. There he discovered that his sweetheart had been waiting for his return and presenting her with the ring Claddagh got married. These rings were held with great pride as heirlooms, and passed on lovingly from mother to daughter on her wedding day. The design has now become very popular internationally, the simplicity of the ring and the symbolism it conveys make it the perfect gift for a friend or loved one. The first examples of this ring (in gold, silver and bronze) are real masterpieces: some of them are now on display at the “National Museum of Ireland” in Dublin, and the “Victoria and Albert Museum” in London.
It is truly a beautiful ring that contains a great legend, a symbol of a wonderful land. As always Emma, I thank you for your collaboration and I am waiting for you to talk about St. Patrick! That’s all for today, I wish you a good Saturday and a good weekend! I look forward to seeing you on Monday with a new wedding ring holder! You kiss
Article written with Emma of An Italian in Sligo