top of page

Valentines and Faeries

The Claddagh Ring: An Irish Tradition

Claddagh Rings on purple flowers
Claddagh Rings

Valentines day is a time for love, friendship, and appreciating special people in our lives. That's why a character in The Faerie Apothecary Mysteries gives a Claddagh Ring as a gift to another character.

Claddagh rings (as pictured above) are popular in Ireland because of their multitude of meanings. The ring itself has three parts each with their own meanings. Friendship is represented by hands holding a heart that represents love and the heart wears a crown to depict loyalty. This beautifully symbolic ring comes from Claddagh, Ireland and is often credited to a man name Richard Joyce, who was captured by Algerian Corsairs, trained as a goldsmith and set free by King William III, at which point he went home and crafted the first Claddagh Ring for his sweetheart. He marketed the concept and it caught on with a passion.

Speaking of passion, this ring reminds me so much of Sternberg's triangular theory of love. (Psychology is kind of a passion for me - I was a psych major in my undergrad.) In this theory, there are three components to lasting love: commitment, intimacy, and passion. How would this relate to the ring? Love is passion. Friendship is a sharing of self, which is intimacy according to Sternberg's definition. Commitment is loyalty or a pledge to be with a person through rain or shine. It's interesting to me that even before theories of love were scientifically dissected in thought experiments, people like Richard Joyce had insights that resonated with people.

But, the Irish people took the ring's meanings even further. The meaning changes according to how you wear it. Left hand ring finger with the heart facing inward is a wedding ring. Left hand ring finger with the heart facing outward, is an engagement ring. Right hand ring finger with the heart facing outward is a symbol of singleness. Finally, right hand ring finger with the heart facing inward is a statement that one is in a committed relationship, though the wearer is unmarried. How nice is it to be able to indicate your love status so easily? It's like a facebook relationship status you can wear.

Because of the multiple meanings, anyone can give or receive a Claddagh ring and the meaning of the gift would change depending on the giver. Claddagh rings are generally supposed to be a gift and not something one gets for oneself. Grandmothers and mothers often pass a Claddagh ring down to the women in the next generation. People in relationships could give a Claddagh ring as an engagement or wedding ring, a promise ring, or even just a nice gift. Close friends can gift the ring out of friendship.

So, who in the book gives a Claddagh ring to whom? Find out in Book 4: Charms and Changelings.


Claddagh ring. (2019, January 05). Retrieved from

Mike, Geraldine, Ray, & Claire & Ange. (2018, December 12). Claddagh Design. Retrieved from

21 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page