The claddagh ring was created in a fishing village named Claddagh, by Richard Joyce. As legend has it, Joyce was captured by piratesand sold to a Turkish goldsmith. While enslaved he mastered the craft of jewelry making and returned to the village when freed. It was then that he created the first claddagh ring which has been passed generation to generation.

Two hands come together to form the band symbolizing friendship. The hands hold a heart, which symbolizes love, and sitting on top of the heart is a crown, symbolizing loyalty.

When the ring is worn on the right hand with the heart facing out, the wearer's heart has not been won yet. If the heart is facing in, the wearer is involved with someone special. And if the ring is worn on the left hand with the heart facing in, two loves have been joined forever.

Claddagh is also the name of several Irish folk bands, one of the older existing ones being a band that was formed 27 years ago. Their official web site can be found at:

http://www.netmodem.com/claddagh

The Claddagh is an Irish symbol. Expanding on the writeup above, Richard Joyce was said to have been engaged when he was captured. He spent many years in slavery thinking about the girl he loved. He stole gold from his master in tiny pieces, eventually getting enough to make a ring. The first claddagh ring. When he was freed he returned to the village of Claddagh with the ring to find that his love had not married, but instead had been faithful to him despite everyone telling her he was dead. The Claddagh ring became a symbol of love, loyalty and friendship.

The Claddagh has also been said to represent other things. The right hand represents Dagda, the celtic father of the gods. The left hand represents Danu, the mother of the gods. The crown represents Beathauile. "Beathauile does not appear to be a person or a god but appears to represent all of life. Gaelic-English dioctionaries indicate that beatha translates to the word life and uile to the word whole or all."* The heart represents the hearts of all mankind.

Another interpretation of the Claddagh symbol is that it represents the holy trinity - a symbol very important in Irish culture - and is related to the Shamrock. The crown represents the Father, the left hand the son, and the right hand the Holy Ghost. They surround the heart in the middle which represents mankind.

*http://qsilver.queensu.ca/~fletchra/Claddagh/

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