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The history of the Claddagh ring dates back to over 300 years. A small fishing village in Ireland called the Claddagh was where the tradition of the Claddagh rings first started. The word Claddagh itself comes from the Irish term 'An Cladach' that means a 'flat stony shore'. This was a pretty and ancient village with winding streets and small thatched roofed mud houses. Modernisation has changed all that now but the tradition of the Claddagh ring lives on and has infact grown much stronger in many parts of the world.

There are two theories put up explaining the first occurence of the Cladagh Irish ring.

First Theory: Margaret Joyce inherited a huge amount of money from her late husband named Domingo de Rona. He was a wealthy Spanish merchant trading with Galway in Ireland. She later married the Mayor of Galway in 1596 (Oliver Og French)and used her inherited wealth to construct many bridges in Connacht. The first Cladagh ring was supposed to be her providential reward and was dropped by an eagle into her lap.

Second Theory: A native of Galway by the name of Richard Joyce was captured by the Algerians and sold as a slave to a Moorish goldsmith. Later in 1689 William III of England demanded the release of all British subjects and Richard Joyce was released from slavery too. The Moorish goldsmith offered Richard Joyce a major portion of his wealth and also his only daughter in marriage, if he agreed to stay in Algiers. The story goes that, Richard Joyce refused all the tempting offers and returned to his native city with the first Claddagh ring.

These are the two major explanations for the history of the Claddagh ring. It does not matter which theory you believe in, or if you believe in neither, because everyone agrees that the Claddagh ring has a history and meaning that is significant to this day.

Irish Claddagh Cufflinks in Pewter - Friendship/Loyalty/Love


Overview