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History of the Claddagh Friendship Ring

History of the Claddagh Friendship Ring

History of the Claddagh Friendship Ring

There is one piece of jewelry we frequently see. We see it in the media symbolizing both love and friendship, even sometimes marriage! It comes in different shapes, sizes, metals, and gemstones, but the concept is always the same. Love, loyalty and friendship are what it represents. But how much do you really know about the Claddagh Friendship Ring? Let’s learn about the history of the ring and where you can currently see more of its history up close and personal. 

made in ireland claddagh ring


Galway, Ireland has become the official home to the Claddagh Friendship Ring since it’s a tourist destination right outside of Claddagh village. The symbol of 2 hands clasping a heart and wearing a crown was first worn by fishing kings in the village. The ring was created by goldsmith, Richard Joyce. He was captured by Algerian pirates and sold into slavery. While enslaved her create The Claddagh Friendship ring and gifted it to a woman he loved once he gained his freedom in 1689.

How to Wear

Each element of the ring has a meaning: 
The Heart: Represents love
The Crown: Symbolizes loyalty
The Hands: Indicates friendship

how to wear claddagh ringhow to wear claddagh ring

The Claddagh Ring may express whether the wearer is single, taken or married depending on the way the ring if worn:
Right hand, heart outward: This means the wearer has a free heart and is looking for love.
Left hand, heart outward: The wearer is in a relationship, but unmarried.
Left hand, heart inward: Indicates the wearer is happily married and inseparable from their significant other.

The Museum

Claddagh ring museum

Now the Claddagh Friendship Ring has become so popular and significant in Irish culture, there is an official museum in Galway! You can visit the museum on Quay Street Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. It’s called “smallest museum with the biggest gift shop.” Here you will learn more about the history, ring production, and get to view the world’s smallest Claddagh Ring. This attraction has been open since the 1750’s so make sure to grab a small piece of history for yourself and your loved ones here. At the museum you’ll find rings in yellow gold, white gold, sterling silver, birthstone heart options and more.
If you would like to visit the Claddagh Ring Museum and Galway while in Ireland, Celtic Tours will make that happen. Now that you’ve learned more about Ireland’s famous ring, we hope you’ll make a stop to sport the ring in Ireland.