The Claddagh Ring Meaning – Love, Friendship, Loyalty and a Love of Ireland

silver claddagh ring meanings

The Claddagh Revival

Whilst the history of Claddagh rings dates back to 1700s Ireland, they enjoyed a huge revival in the late 1990s. We think that the sudden fascination and attraction to the Claddagh ring is because meaningful and symbolic jewellery enjoyed a massive revival.

The Significance of the Claddagh Ring

The Claddagh ring meaning holds huge significance, both to love and to Ireland. For those with Irish roots, it’s a ring to wear with immense pride.

The Claddagh ring meaning of love, friendship and loyalty also makes it a ring that people hold very close to their hearts if someone has gifted them a Claddagh ring.

You can find other Claddagh jewellery but rings are by far the most popular.

The Pronounciation of Claddagh

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

The Design of a Claddagh Ring

Gold and CZ Claddagh Ring

A Claddagh Ring features a pair of hands, a heart and a crown. Sometimes the crown is missing, but rarely so. 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 love.
The crown signifies loyalty.

History of the Claddagh Ring

An Irish man called Richard Joyce, was on a sailing ship going to West Africa in 1675 when he was captured by pirates. They sold him as a slave to a goldsmith in Algeria, who trained him to make jewellery. He 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 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 Claddagh ring.

When Are Claddagh Rings Given?

With the symbolism literally designed into this ring, Claddagh rings are often used as an engagement or wedding ring.
There was a tradition for mothers to gift a Claddagh ring to their eldest daughter and a grandmother to granddaughter.

How You Wear a Claddagh Ring

There is 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. Claddagh rings are worn on the third finger of the hand (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

If the bottom of the heart points away from you, towards the fingertips worn on your right hand, it means 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 arm 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 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, even taking 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.

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