The romantic spirit of Saint Valentine lives on in Ireland…in fact, the earthly remains of Saint Valentine himself are believed to rest in Whitefriar Street Church, Dublin.
A special shrine in the church is devoted to this most romantic of saints, who risked so much to unite lovers. Many couples go there to feel his spirit; in fact, some couples believe their relationship will be blessed by a visit to his final resting place…
Throughout the Emerald Isle, other romantic rituals add a touch of Irish spirit to Valentine celebrations. For example, many Irish couples enjoy incorporating the Claddagh tradition into their gift-giving.
Exchanging Claddagh Rings is one of the most enduring traditions of the Irish people. These tokens of affection can also be used as engagement rings or wedding bands, and they are worn by men and women alike.
Let’s take a look at the legend of the very first Claddagh Ring, so we can see how it has come to represent undying love and faithfulness for centuries…
The Claddagh Story
The Claddagh story began in Galway, where an Irish fisherman named Richard Joyce was born and raised. In time, Joyce sailed all over the world to make his living, and he was unlucky enough to be kidnapped at sea and sold into slavery.
Forced to work in Algiers for a Moorish goldsmith, he learned how to create exquisite pieces out of the most precious metals. During his enslavement, he never forgot his true love, Margaret, who also waited faithfully for his return.
In her honor, he created a special ring which featured a crowned heart, gently clasped by two tiny hands. The heart was a symbol of love and loyalty, and the hands that held it seemed to offer all manner of romantic promises and hopes…
In time, Joyce was released from slavery, through the help of the English King, William III. The fisherman-turned-goldsmith returned to Galway and had a joyous reunion with Margaret.
He offered her the ring he had made, and this symbol of their devotion became an integral part of Irish culture and tradition.
Today’s Claddagh Rings
In modern Irish jewelry design, there are always new twists on traditional Claddagh designs. While you may opt for a beautiful and classic Claddagh Ring crafted of fine gold, you can also choose a hybrid of past and present.
Today’s Claddagh Rings get a shot of color from birthstones and precious gems; they also feature ornate engravings and modern reinterpretations of the old symbols.
For this Valentine’s Day, why not celebrate your loved one’s Irish heritage (or your own!) by giving them one of these meaningful rings: handcrafted in Ireland, they are designed to last a lifetime, and to be passed down from generation to generation…
The Best Claddagh Rings For Valentine’s Day
This is the most classic rendition of the Claddagh Ring. In all likelihood, it probably looks very much like the ring Richard Joyce created for Margaret.
Expert craftsmanship and true authenticity give this ring an heirloom quality.
Assayed (stamped) in Dublin Castle, this design offers the very best in traditional Irish workmanship.
This ring will be a wonderful way to add a touch of Irish romance to your Valentine’s Day gift-giving.
This modern design offers all the ornate beauty of the Claddagh, but adds in a few new elements to create a different effect.
The heart is left open here, and adorned with emeralds and diamonds that glitter along one side. A thinner band and more stylized hands give the symbols a whole new look.
For a showpiece she’ll love to wear, consider this very current version of the traditional Claddagh Ring.
Sometimes, Valentine’s Day offers the opportunity to really spoil the woman you love.
Showing how much you care will be so easy with this stunning and luxurious emerald and diamond Claddagh ring design.
The beautifully faceted emerald heart gleams, surrounded by diamonds that catch the light…every element of this ring is painstakingly crafted to the highest possible standards.
If you’re looking for the glamour and impact of precious stones for her Valentine ring, this could be the ideal choice.