The origins of the Claddagh ring are blurred by history. However, the most likely account (and the one that does not involve mythology of any sort) is the story of Richard Joyce. Joyce was a native of Galway and left his home to pursue work overseas in the 17th century. While at sea, his vessel was attacked by pirates, and Joyce was taken as a slave.
Joyce was sold to a Moorish goldsmith, where he was put to work learning the goldsmith trade. Joyce was eventually freed due to British demands that all English prisoners be freed. Since Ireland was a British colony at the time, Joyce was part of satisfying that demand.
History tells us that the goldsmith wanted Joyce to stay, even offering his daughter in marriage as well as a generous financial incentive. However, Joyce refused and began the journey home to Ireland. While in captivity, Joyce had fashioned a gold Claddagh ring for his sweetheart. He presented it to her, and they settled in the Irish village of Claddagh (just outside Galway). And that is how the Claddagh ring received its design and name while becoming one of the best-known pieces of Irish jewelry in the world.
CelticByDesign.com specializes in Claddagh rings including men's Claddagh rings, women's Claddagh rings, and even Claddagh rings for infants. We have many different types and styles of Claddagh rings available whether you are in the market for a sterling silver Claddagh ring, two-tone Claddagh ring, or even a Claddagh ring with a diamond set as the heart.
Check out our other blog post on how to wear a Claddagh Ring!