Have you ever seen an authentic Claddagh Ring? Chances are if you are Irish or you have taken a trip to Ireland you have seen this beautiful and unique piece of Irish jewelry.
By definition a claddagh [ klah-duh ] is a noun. It is a ring in the form of two hands clasping a crowned heart, given in friendship or love.
According to dictionary.com
Expect fine jewelry designer, Jennifer Derrig who is the owner and head designer at The Irish Jewelry Company described the tradition of the Irish claddagh ring as such.
The Claddagh Ring is an instantly recognizable symbol that represents true love and boundless affection. Like a bond between soul mates.
Jennifer Derrig, owner of The Irish Jewelry Company
What are Claddagh Rings?
Claddagh rings are fede rings and have a long history dating back to Roman times. The name “fede” derives from the Italian phrase mani in fede meaning loosely “hands joined in faith” or “hands joined in loyalty”. The clasped hands were viewed as promise ring used as an engagement ring or wedding ring in medieval and Renaissance Europe. Irish Claddagh rings are a version of the fede ring has roots deeply seeded in long standing Irish tradition.
So what do claddagh rings mean?
The Irish say if you want to give a token of your friendship, love and loyalty that has meaning, the Claddagh rings may be the choice for you. Claddagh rings, are often mistakenly spelt Clatter Ring orClodagh Ring, like it sounds (Irish: fáinne Chladaigh) is a traditional Irish ring. TheCladdagh ring literally meanseternal love, loyalty, and friendship. Claddagh ringconsists of a heart, for love with a crown, for loyalty held by two hands symbolizing friendship. Claddagh Rings have become a famous symbol of love treaured by Irish and non Irish all around the world.
A short history of the Claddagh ring.
Irish folklore says that long ago a young man was captured by Algerian pirates and sold into slavery from the small Irish fishing village of Claddagh. He was taught to be a goldsmith as a slave. Many years in servitude passed and he often wondered if his true love waited for him all this time. Over the years enslaved he stole tiny bits of gold from his master to make her a special ring to convey his love. He fashioned a heart for love, a crown for loyalty and hands as a symbol of friendship. After many years had passed he finally released from his servitude and he returned home to the village of Claddagh. Upon his return to Ireland to his unbelieavable joy he discovered that his true love had waited for him. SSo he presented her the ring he made during his time away as a symbol of his enduring love, loyalty and friendship forever known now as theCladdagh. Do you have someone in your life to which you pledge your love, loyalty and friendship forever?
Can a Claddagh Ring be an engagement or wedding ring?
Claddagh Rings are a universal token of love for lads and lassies. That’s means both men and women an wear Claddagh Rings as promise rings, or as wedding bands. They can also be given as an engagement ring as a symbol of friendship, love and loyalty.
Irish Wedding Bridal Tip…
The symbol of the Irish claddagh can be incorporated in many ways during the wedding ceremony. Brides can wear claddagh jewelry, give claddagh jewelry to the bridemaids and tie a claddagh charm to their bouquet. The claddagh can also be used in the design of the invitations, place cards and on the linens. The groom can also find grooms man gifts such as claddagh engraved flasks and claddagh cufflinks and so much more.
There are many unique styles of claddagh jewelry. Most claddagh styles basically have the hands, heart, and crown. However, the Fenian Claddagh, also known as the Dublin Claddagh Ring has two hands holding a heart and no crown was made in Dublin in the 1800’s. Then there is the Trinity Claddagh Ring, a modern twist on the combination of the traditional claddagh ring and trinity knot takes Irish jewelry to a new level of great design.
The claddagh ring is in its simplest form a true token of love. Whatever type of claddagh ring you choose or however your decide to incorporate it in your wedding day its is a symbol all of your guests are sure to recognize.
Many if our Irish American readers were probably raised by an Irish Mom or an Irish American Mom Irish, even an Italian mom if you Dad was the Irish one. Irish Moms and Italian Moms are pretty much the same. It hard not to recognize those enduring traits that make them both great moms. They are both their children’s number fan. They are encouraging, caring, and show unconditional love and devotion for us in their own special ways. Both moms have the power to make you cry in fear object fear of a simple cooking utensil, known as the dreaded wooden spoon.
You know you were raised by either an Irish mom or an Italian mom if you know all the important Saints by heart.
Every time you lose something, and you searched high and low for it without success and you just happen to mention it to mom she will undoubtedly say “Have you said a prayer to Saint Anthony yet?”. Rest assured, without fail good old St. Anthony usually comes through with finding your car keys. Every Irish mother or Italian mother has a favorite saint that they prayer too repeatable that they insist have never let them down.
“I have eyes in the back of my head you know.”
Were we all just stupid kids but for years we really thought our mothers had eyes in the back of their heads? Mom ALWAYS knew when you were up to no good or lying.
“Don’t make me get the wooden spoon….”
Oh, those dreaded words… even the sound of the draw where it was kept opening was enough to put the fear of God in you. You ran at the sight of a wooden spoon. No matter what the issue was you were battling her over, just when you thought you had her she would start counting to three. Knew the wooden spoon was coming out next.
Mom always slipped you some extra money
If you had an Irish mom, she is good for about a spare 20 quid until you are about thirty. If you had an Italian mom, it was you cannot go out without any cash and you always left Nona’s side $20 richer. It was for candy or ice cream when you were a little kid and later as you got older is was probably gas money.
Let’s face it, motherhood is not easy, but mom always made it seem like it was her greats priority and we were her greatest achievement. Whether you had an Irish mom or an Italian mom her enduring love is a true testament to the enduring bond between a mother and child. Remember to honor her on Mother’s Day with a special Mother’s Day gift like a piece of motherhood Jewelry to show your appreciation for all she has done and continues to do for you. I mean really , what mom wouldn’t want a beautiful piece of mother’s jewelry from her baby.
There are many Irish Halloween traditions in Ireland. One of my favorites is barmbrack.
Barmbrack is at the very core of the Irish Halloween traditions. The Halloween Brack, much like Christmas pudding traditionally contained various objects baked into the sweet bread. These various items were used as fortune-telling. In the barmbrack items like a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin (originally a silver sixpence) and a ring were traditionally used. When an item is received in the slice, had a meaning for that person. For instance if you got the pea, the person would not marry that year, the stick, you’ll have an unhappy marriage , the cloth or rag meant bad luck or you’ll be poor; the coin of course meant you’ll have good fortune or be rich and the ring, meant you would be wed within the year. Other items also added to the brack were medals, usually of the Virgin Mary to symbolize going into the priesthood or becoming a nun, although this tradition isn’t very popular today.
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
⅔ cup/158 milliliters lightly warmed milk
1 egg, beaten
1 ⅔ cups/214 grams all-purpose flour, plus flour for dusting
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon clove
¼ teaspoon mace ( Mace is made from the lacy, red outer coating that covers the shell around the nutmeg kernel. )
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons/28 grams unsalted butter, softened, more for greasing pan
¼ cup/50 grams granulated sugar
½ cup/75 grams golden raisins
½ cup/75 grams black raisins
½ cup/75 grams currants
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
In a small bowl, whisk the yeast and milk together. Leave it to bubble slowly in a warm spot 10 minutes, then whisk in the beaten egg.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, put the flour, cinnamon, clove, mace, salt, butter and sugar. Mix well, incorporating butter with fingertips (or paddle, if using mixer) until absorbed.
Pour the yeast-milk-egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon (or dough hook, with mixer).
When the dough begins to come together, add the raisins, currants, lemon zest and orange zest, then mix to combine. It will be somewhat sticky dough. Dust lightly with flour, turn out onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes until the dough feels smooth. Pat dough into a rectangle.
Butter a loaf pan and lay in the dough, pushing down so dough covers bottom of pan. Stretch plastic wrap loosely over pan and put in a warm place, covered with a kitchen towel, for about an hour, until doubled in size. Uncover.
Heat oven to 350 degrees and center a rack in the oven. Bake loaf on the centered rack for 45 minutes, until well browned. Carefully tip the loaf out of the pan onto a cooling rack. To tell whether it’s done, thump the bottom of the loaf with your fingertips; it should sound hollow. Let cool to room temperature before slicing, if possible. ( NYT recipe)
The púca (Irish for spirit/ghost), pooka, phouka, phooka, phooca, puca or púka is primarily a creature of Celtic folklore. Considered to be bringers both of good and bad fortune, they could either help or hinder rural and marine communities.The Púca can have dark or staunch white fur or hair. The creatures were said to be shape changers which could take the appearance of horses, goats, cats, dogs, and hares. They may also take a human form, which includes various animal features, such as ears or a tail.
In Ireland the Irish people say “Nollaig Shona Duit” pronounced NO-Lihg HO-nuh ghwich. This Irish Christmas greeting literally translates to Happy Christmas.
What is Irish Christmas plum pudding ?
One beloved Irish Christmas tradition is that of the Christmas plum pudding. The traditional Irish Christmas plum pudding has had humble beginnings. Plum pudding was originally a porridge flavored with scraps of leftover meat or fish, thickened with bread crumbs and bound together with eggs, fruit and spices. During the Tudor and Stuart period in England, dried prunes were added to the pudding mixture which became known as a plum porridge. Eventually becoming called plum pudding and often eaten with Brandy Butter Sauce.
Another very common Christmas custom in Ireland is the candle window. The placing of a lighted candle in the window of a house on Christmas Eve is still practiced today and has become an American Christmas tradition as well. The candle in the window has a number of purposes. One of its primary meanings is as a welcoming symbol to Mary and Joseph as they traveled looking for shelter. The candle also indicated a safe place for Catholic priests to perform mass during the penal times when Catholic masses were not allowed. Another part of the tradition is the candle should be lit by the youngest member of the family and should only be extinguished by a girl bearing the name Mary.
What is the Feast Day of St. Stephen and the Wren Boy Procession?
During Penal times there was a plot in a village against the local soldiers. The soldiers were surrounded and about to be ambushed when a flock of wrens pecked on their drums and awakened them in time to defend themselves. The plot failed and the wren became known as the “Devil’s Bird”.
On Saint Stephen’s Day a procession takes place where pole with a holly bush is carried from house to house and families dress up in old clothes with blackened faces. In olden days an actual wren bird was killed and placed on the pole. This custom has largely disappeared but the tradition of visiting from house to house on St. Stephen’s has survived and is a large part of the Irish Christmas celebration today.
The Feast of the Epiphany and Women’s Christmas
Last but not least a fabulous Irish Christmas tradition that hasn’t made its way to the states is called “Women’s Christmas”. In Ireland on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, is when traditionally the Irish finish celebrating Christmas. It is also known as “Nollaigh na mBean” in Irish or “Women’s Christmas“. Tradition has it that women get the day off and the men of the house get to do the housework, cooking and take down the Christmas decorations. Women meet up to go have a day out and treat themselves. Have you ever celebrated “Women’s Christmas“?
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The Halloween bonfire is a tradition to encourage dreams of who your future husband or wife is going to be. The idea was to drop a cutting of your hair into the burning embers and then dream of you future loved one. Halloween was one of the Celt ‘fire’ celebrations.
The Irish legend of the Dullahan, or English translation “dark man” is unnerving. The Headless Horseman or Dullahan is the Irish foreteller of death. The Dullahan rides a jet black horse with flames shooting from its eyes, carrying his head under one arm. Irish folklore says that when he stops riding, a human dies.
There are many versions of this scary tale. Some say that the Dullahan throws buckets of blood at people he passes, while other say he simply calls out the name of the mortal that will soon die.
But as with most evil entities the Dullahan has a weakness. The Dullahan can not stand the sight of GOLD. So you would be wise when traveling on this Halloween to carry a wee bit of in case you have a run-in with this headless horror!
In Ireland there are fairies, good natured and there are FAIRIES. If you’ve ever traveled at night on the winding Irish back roads in the countryside of Ireland you would know it is a kind of eerie darkness that puts fear in your very heart. One can easily imagine something moving over the moors or hearing the forlorn screech of a dammed fairy.
As a child in Ireland you are warned to not play inside a fairy fort because the fairies don’t like it and might curse you or worse they might fancy you. Fairy forts are mounds or hills found all over Ireland. They are the ruins of circular mound dwellings in which people lived during the Iron Age such as Newgrange.
‘Away with the fairies’is an old Irish expression referring to someone whose mind is elsewhere. It originated with the belief in the folklore that mischievous fairies steal souls and carry children off to the underworld, leaving changelings in their place.
A Changeling is a creature thought to be the offspring of a fairy that has been secretly left in the place of a human child. It is thought that fairies often fancy mortals and steal their pretty children. They carry the babies away leaving behind a Changeling, an ailing fairy child, or a log of wood so bewitched that they seems to be a mortal pining away in bewilderment.
They say if you wear your clothing inside out or wear bells you can ward off the malevolent fairies.
Anti-Fairy Measures for Halloween:
There is an old Irish folklore that warns of fairies and goblins that try to collect as many souls as they can at Halloween. Folklore says if you through the dust from under your feet at the Fairy then they would be obliged to release any souls that they held captive.