The Claddagh Tattoo

Celtic Tattoo Design

claddagh tattoo

The Irish Claddagh ring is becoming a popular option as a tattoo design. The Claddagh has meaning that goes back many centuries, so it's a good idea to check out the history before putting the image permanently on your body. 

Claddagh is the correct spelling, but it's also commonly referred to as cladagh or clladdagh. 

Read on to learn a bit more about the history, origins and meanings behind celtic tattoo designs and the Claddagh tattoo in particular.

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History of the Claddagh

Claddagh Tattoo Designs

claddagh tattoo design

The Claddagh dates back over 300 years. There is actually a small fishing village in Ireland called The Claddagh where the tradition was derived from. The term literally means 'flat, stoney shore'. 

There are several historical accounts to explain the genesis of the claddagh ring. In one story, an Irish woman marries twice, each time into great wealth, and uses her newfound influence to improve the infrastructure of her town. The second involves an Irish slave being freed, and foregoing wealth in order to return home. The theme of both these tales seems to be providence and unexpected reward.

Meaning of Claddagh Tattoos

Celtic Tattoo Designs and Meanings

The meaning of the claddagh ring is simple. The hands holding the heart are meant to symbolize friendship. The heart itself, fittingly, is meant to symbolize love and togetherness. The crown above the heart and hands is meant to symbolize loyalty. 

Claddagh rings are popular as wedding bands because they symbolize three important aspects of the wedding union. However, claddagh rings are used for almost every type of celebration or coming of age. 

The claddagh ring is also worn in a specific way. If the wearer is married, engaged, or willing to consider love, the crown should be facing away from the body. If the wearer isn't willing to consider love, the crown should be pointing towards the body. This symbolizes the direction of your loyalty. 

In a tattoo, all these Claddagh meanings hold true. Just use the tattoo as you would use a ring to make the meaning work for your design.

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Claddagh Tattoo Designs and Meaning

Celtic Tattoo Designs In Practice

So if you're planning to get an irish claddagh tattoo design, what will this mean? A claddagh tattoo is a really great one to get as a group of friends or a couple, because of the symbolism of friendship, love and loyalty. 

The Claddagh as a tattoo is also a great choice for anyone reaching a milestone in their life, or for anyone with Irish background or ancestry. 

It's important to remember the positioning of the crown. Remember that if the crown is facing outwards, it symbolizes willingness to love or commit. If you're placing the claddagh tattoo on your arms, keep this positioning in mind. 

Tattoos are a lifelong commitment, so choose wisely!

Good Luck!