The Claddagh Symbol
In the early 16th century, an Irish man named Richard Joyce was fishing off the coast of Galway, Ireland. One week before he was to be married his currach (fishing boat) capsized. Captured by pirates and sold into slavery to a Moorish goldsmith, he crafted a special ring for his one true love fashioned of three symbols: hands signifying friendship, a heart signifying love, topped with a crown for loyalty. When released from slavery, Richard returned to Ireland and found his true love waiting for him. The married and ettled in the village Claddagh. Ever since, the Claddagh ring has been worn as a sign of love, loyalty and friendship. The heart pointed toward you means your heart is taken; the heart pointed away from you means your heart is free.Worn on the left ring finger, heart pointed toward you - represents a wedding band. Although tradittionally used as a wedding band, the Claddagh ring has come to be word as a friendship ring.