Celtic Jewelry, Interesting Stories, Irish Jewelry

The Celtic Tree of Life Symbolism and Meaning

The Celtic Tree of Life

In Celtic myth, trees played a central role in daily life. The Celts believed the Irish wooded landscape was full of spirits. They also associated the spirit or heart of the great oak with fertility and centered with wisdom. Often Celtic clans gathered socially underneath the mighty oak to discussing clan issues like a meeting of public officials today. Like Native Americans the Celts revered nature and the cycle of life. They valued their relationship to the earth and gathered within nature in honor of it instead of building great temples of stone. The Celts love of nature and its bond to the earth lead to their many beliefs revolving around trees.

What does the Celtic Tree of Life Symbolize?

The commemorated oak tree also called the Celtic Tree of Life has been an ancient symbol of life, fertility and wisdom revered by many cultures like the Greeks, and Romans in addition to the Celts since ancient times. There are many symbols of the oak tree with spiritual meaning.

Tree of Life in Gaelic

The Celtic tree of life in Gaelic is called “Crann Bethadh”. The Tree of Life is a complex element of Irish culture and customs. The Celtic Tree of Life is amongst one of the most admired and recognizable Celtic symbols. The tree of life symbolically important in both history and religion. It symbolizes faith, the strength of coherence and stability.

The Meaning of the Celtic Tree of Life

The Celtic Tree of Life meaning varies. Rebirth is one of the most popular meanings for the Tree of Life.  The belief stems from theory that trees experiences renewal throughout the changing of the seasons. Its leaves fall in autumn and regrow in spring is symbolic of rebirth. Another meaning of the Celtic Tree of Life is that it is also a symbol of wisdom and strength. The most sacred of trees was the oak, called ‘daur’ in Celtic.  It is where the modern word ‘door’ is derived. So, the oak tree, literally would have been the door to the other world.

The Celtic Tree of Life has been an inspiration to various artists for centuries. Remember that great scene in Game of Thrones. The one where Bran, Hodor and Elllie are in the cave root system of the weirwood tree when Bran was becoming the Three-Eyed Raven?  I believe it was kind of symbolic of the tree of life, the all-knowing tree. Remember then while they were escaping the cave root system, Ellie shouted to Hodor to “hold the door to give them a chance to escape. The words flashed back to the past, causing Wylis to fall to the ground seizing while yelling “hold the door!” repeatable, until brain damage set in and the phrased “Hold Door” slurred into one: “Hodor.” Are you seeing the connection?  

Knowledge of the fundamental meaning of the Tree of Life symbol gives an insight to ancient Celtic. Celtic Tree of Life Knot has roots and branches woven into a Celtic knot together without end, illustrating the uninterrupted cycle of life on earth. The Celtic Tree of Life knot is a popular design for tapestries, throws, Celtic jewelry and tree of life tattoos because of its positive energy.

Celtic Jewelry, Celtic Knot Meanings, Interesting Stories, Irish Jewelry, Irish Traditions, News

The Origins of Celtic Jewelry

Historians believe Celtic clans first settled in Germany and Austria from near 1,200BC. The clans were a society of agriculturalists and soldiers. It is believed around the time of the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, the Celts migrated south across France and to the Iberian Peninsula. It was around 500BC when the Celts first arrived in Britain and Ireland. Over hundreds of years the Celts spread throughout the Ireland’s countryside. In the fifth century by the time Christianity came to Ireland the Celtic language, traditions and culture were the dominant force in Ireland.

Men’s Celtic Jewelry Collection by The Irish Jewelry Company

Celtic Art of The La Tene Period

With the Celtic language and culture flourishing in Ireland their style of artwork would soon take hold in Irish culture as well.  Celtic artists started to demonstrate a more advanced type of artwork. The Celtic form of art during this time is called the La Tene style[JD1] .  Named after the town of La Tène in Switzerland. The Celtic art called La Tène is characterized by curves and spirals. There is little Representative art of the human seen. The style is more defined by abstract geometric design such as the Celtic knot and the common triple spiral design known as the triskelion or triskele.

Celtic Knots are a popular Celtic symbol but there are many types of Celtic Knots. Celtic knots are like circles and loops interwoven with no beginning or end. A symbol of eternity and the cycle of life. Celtic symbols are widely popular in Celtic Tattoos and in Celtic Jewelry. Celtic symbols have a variety of Celtic Knot meanings representing family, strength, protection, love and more.

While the exact origins of Celtic Knots are lost to time historians believe these Celtic symbols date to around 500 BC. Celtic knots have been found carved into ancient Celtic architecture, art and in illuminated manuscripts.  Celtic Jewelry is thought to date back to around 2000 BC to around 550 AD. This was the period in which historian believe Celtic craftsman began using silver and gold to craft beautiful Celtic jewelry adorned with Celtic symbols and knots. The exact meaning of the Celtic knot has unfortunately been lost in through the centuries and are left to interpretation.

Common styles of Celtic jewelry during this time included torcs, likely worn as a status symbol since they considered jewelry to be decorative rather than practical. Another type of Celtic jewelry found with torcs during this period is the Celtic cloak brooch. The famous and impressive Tara Brooch made of silver-gilt and decorated with fine filigree interlaced design. The Tara Brooch is a magnificent Celtic cloak brooch. This style of Celtic brooch is repeated throughout Celtic jewelry.

Celtic knotwork designs are embossed on large Celtic stone crosses all over Ireland that have with stood the test of time and are depicted in metal work and Celtic jewelry on ancient riches like the Ardagh Chalice part of the Ardagh Hoard on display at National Museum of Archaeology in Ireland in Dublin along with the famous Tara brooch.

Celtic Jewelry is so highly sought after and admired throughout the world. Tourists to Ireland often wonder about the local crafts the country is famous for creating. Ireland is famous for a variety of crafts including wool sweaters and its famous world-renowned Celtic Jewelry.

What jewelry is Ireland known for?

Ireland is known for beautiful Celtic Jewelry inspired by the ancient Celtic philosophy . Celtic jewelry is steeped in culture from Ireland with symbols of love, family, faith, and friendship passed for generations. Celtic jewelry has timeless appeal and is a wonderful representation of the vibrant Irish culture and people.

Celtic jewelry is high quality and handcrafted inspired by all things Irish and made from the finest material by expert Irish jewelers. When a customer buys a piece of Celtic jewelry such as a Claddagh Ring, or Celtic Trinity Knot they are not only getting a beautiful piece of jewelry they are also passing on traditional Celtic culture and custom.


Interesting Stories, Ireland, Irish Traditions, Irish Wit & Wisdom, News

Popular Irish Surnames, Gaelic Spelling and Meaning

Did you know that Ireland, the beautiful emerald isle, was one of the very first countries to adopt the use of surnames or better yet Irish surnames? Many the Irish surnames of come from the reign of Brian Boru and the clans of that time. Brian Boru was the High King of Ireland who was defeated protecting Ireland from a Vikings invasion.

Like many surnames, Irish surnames were started to identify a son separately from his father or a grandson from his grandfather but from them. Irish surnames you are familiar with like Murphy, Sweeny, Ryan, etc. come from the culture of the Gaels. The Celts that populated Ireland (and ultimately Scotland and the Isle of Man). The Gaels sailed from Iberia to Ireland. A group of kin or family in the Gaelic culture is known as a clan. The unique Gaelic (Gaedhilge) languages fall under the Celtic languages. Gaelic languages are considered endangered today. Gaelic is the language of ancient Ireland and the dialects that have established it, particularly those commonly recognized as Irish. Popular Gaelic phrases you might be familiar with are máthair meaning mother, mo anam cara meaning soul mate or sláinte meaning cheers. These Irish phrases have been popularized by Irish Jewelry and Celtic Jewelry inspired by their meaning.  

Gaelic or Irish surnames are “patronymics” which means, they indicate patrilineal descent such as “son of “. Frequently the Irish and Scottish used Gaelic prefixes with Irish surname meanings. Prefixes such as Mac or Mc, which is the Gaelic word for “son”. So, for the son Mac was attached to the father’s name or trade. Likewise, O is a word all by itself in Gaelic, for “grandson” when used before a grandfather’s name or trade. As Gaelic names became Anglicized, by the English sometimes they lost their prefixes:

List of popular Irish Surnames and Irish Surname Meaning

Brennan

This Irish surname was prevalent, settling in Fermanagh, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, and Westmeath. The Brennan surname in Ireland is now mostly found in County Sligo and the province of Leinster.

Irish spelling: Ó Braonáin/Ó Branáin
Meaning: Ó Braonáin means of the droplet while Ó Branáin means of the raven.

Brown or Browne

Common in both England and Ireland, the Irish Brown families are most found in the province of Connacht (specifically Galway and Mayo), as well as Kerry.

Meaning: It denotes the brown complexion of the skin or brown hair color.

Boyle

The O Boyles were chieftains in Donegal, ruling west Ulster with the O Donnells and the O Doughertys. Boyle descendants can also be found in Kildare and Offaly.

Irish spelling: Ó Baoill
Meaning: Vain pledge.

Burke

The Norman last name Burke originated from the borough of Caen in Normandy (de burg means “of the borough”). The Burkes have been in Ireland since the 12th century, settling mainly in the province of Connacht.

Meaning: refers to a ‘fortress’ or ‘castle.’

Byrne / Burns

The O Byrne (Ó Broin) family originally came from Kildare, until the Anglo-Normans arrived, and they were driven south to the Wicklow mountains. The Byrne surname is still quite common in Wicklow, as well as Dublin and Louth.

Irish spelling: O’Byrne’ or ‘Ó Broin

Meaning: descendant of Bran’ where Bran refers to a ‘raven

Callaghan

The Callaghans were a powerful family in the province of Munster. Individuals with the Irish surname Callaghan (also spelled Callahan) are most numerous in Clare and Cork.

Irish spelling: Ó Ceallacháin
Meaning: the Eoghanacht, descent from Ceallachan

Campbell

Campbell families are very prevalent in Donegal (most are descended from Scottish mercenary soldiers), as well as in Cavan. Campbell is a descriptive surname meaning “crooked mouth.”

Irish spelling: Mac Cailein
Meaning: Scottish Gaelic words referring to crooked mouth’ or ‘wry-mouthed

Carroll

The Carroll surname (and variants such as O’Carroll) can be found throughout Ireland, including Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Kerry, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan, and Offaly. There is also a MacCarroll family (anglicized to MacCarvill) from the province of Ulster.

Irish spelling:  Ó Cearbhaill

Meaning: hacking with a weapon

Clark(e)

One of the oldest surnames in Ireland, the O Clery surname (anglicized to Clarke) is most prevalent in Cavan.

Irish spelling: Ó Cleireigh(Clery)

Meaning: ‘clergy’ or ‘priest

Collins

The common Irish surname Collins originated in Limerick, though after the Norman invasion they fled to Cork. There are also Collin families from the province of Ulster, most of whom were probably English.

Irish spelling: Ó Coileáin
Meaning: Descendent of the young warrior/hound.

Connell / O’Connell

Three distinct O Connell clans, located in the provinces of Connacht, Ulster, and Munster, are the originators of many of the Connell families in Clare, Galway, Kerry.

Irish spelling:  Ó Conaill

Connolly

Originally an Irish clan from Galway, the Connolly families settled in Cork, Meath, and Monaghan.

Irish spelling: Ó Coingheallaigh

Meaning: nickname for ‘someone as valiant as a wolf’ and later evolved as a last name in Ireland.

Connor

In Irish Ó Conchobhair or Ó Conchúir, the Connor last name means “hero or champion.” The O Connor family was one of three royal Irish families; they are from Clare, Derry, Galway, Kerry, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo and the province of Ulster.

Irish spelling: Conchobhair

Meaning: Old Irish and means a ‘wolf’ or a ‘hound dog

Daly

The Irish Ó Dálaigh comes from dáil, meaning a place of assembly. Individuals with the Daly surname hail primarily from Clare, Cork, Galway, and Westmeath.

Irish spelling: Ó Dálaigh
Meaning: Of the assembly.

Doherty / Daugherty

The name in Irish (Ó Dochartaigh) means obstructive or hurtful. In the 4th century, the Dohertys settled around the Inishowen peninsula in Donegal, where they’ve primarily stayed. The Doherty surname is the most common in Derry. Also spelled Dougherty and Daugherty.

Irish spelling: Ó Dochartaigh

Meaning: meaning the ‘descendant of Dochartach.’ ‘Dochartach’ means ‘obstructive’ or ‘dangerous.’

Doyle

The Doyle last name comes from dubh ghall, the “dark foreigner,” and is thought to be Norse in origin. In the province of Ulster, they were known as Mac Dubghaill (MacDowell and MacDuggall). The greatest concentration of Doyles is in Leinster, Roscommon, Wexford, and Wicklow.

Irish spelling: Ó Dubhghaile
Meaning: Descendent of Dubhghal, meaning black valor.

Duffy

Ó Dubhthaigh, anglicized to Duffy, comes from an Irish name meaning black or swarthy. Their original homeland was Monaghan, where their surname is still the most common. They are also from Donegal and Roscommon.

Irish spelling: Ó Dufaigh/Ó Dubhthaigh
Meaning: Black.

Dunne/ Dunn

From the Irish for brown (donn), the original Irish name Ó Duinn has by now lost the O prefix. In the province of Ulster, the final e is omitted. Dunne is the most common surname in Laois, where the family originated. Also occasionally spelled Donne.

Irish spelling: Ó Doinn or Duinn

Meaning: Old English word for ‘dark’ or from ‘donn’ the Gaelic word for ‘brown.’

Farrell

The O Farrell chieftains were lords of Annaly near Longford and Westmeath. Farrell is a surname generally meaning “valiant warrior.”

Irish spelling: Ó Ferghail
Meaning: Man, of valor.

Fitzgerald

A Norman family who came to Ireland in 1170, the Fitzgeralds (spelled Mac Gearailt in parts of Ireland) claimed vast holdings in Cork, Kerry, Kildare, and Limerick. The surname Fitzgerald translates directly as “son of Gerald.”

Meaning: name ‘Gerald’ refers to ‘rule of the spear.’

Flynn

The Irish surname Ó Floinn is prevalent in the province of Ulster. However, the “F” is no longer pronounced, and the name is now Loinn or Lynn. The Flynn surname can also be found in Clare, Cork, Kerry, and Roscommon. It is a patronymic Irish surname meaning ‘son of Gerald.

Irish spelling: Ó Floinn

Meaning: name ‘Flann’ refers to ‘reddish’ or ‘scarlet’ in Gaelic.

Gallagher

The Gallagher clan has been in County Donegal since the 4th century and Gallagher is the most common surname in this area. Descendent of Gallchobhar, an Irish king. Gallagher is the anglicized form of ‘Ó Gallchobhair’ meaning a ‘descendant of Gallchobhar.’

Irish spelling: Ó Gallchobhair
Meaning: two Irish words ‘gall’ meaning ‘stranger’ and ‘cabhair’ meaning ‘help.’

Healy

The Healy surname is most found in Cork and Sligo.

Irish spelling: Ó hÉalaighthe

Meaning: referring to a ‘descendant of the claimant.’

Hughes

The Hughes surname, both Welsh and Irish in origin, is most numerous in three provinces Connacht, Leinster, and Ulster.

Irish spelling: Ó hAodha

Meaning: name ‘Aodh’ is derived from ‘Aed,’ an Old Irish word for ‘fire.’

Kelly

Kelly families of Irish origin come primarily from Derry, Galway, Kildare, Leitrim, Leix, Meath, Offaly, Roscommon, and Wicklow.

Irish spelling: Ó Ceallaigh
Meaning: ‘Ceallach’ refers to ‘bright-headed.’

Kennedy

The Kennedy surname, both Irish and Scottish in origin, hails from Clare, Kilkenny, Tipperary, and Wexford.

Irish spelling: Ó Cinnéide
Meaning: anglicized form of ‘Ó Cinnéidigh’ which means ‘descendant of Cennetig.’ ‘Cennetig’ is an Old Irish word referring to an ‘armored head’ or ‘misshapen head.’

Lynch

The Lynch families (Ó Loingsigh in Irish) were originally settled in Clare, Donegal, Limerick, Sligo, and Westmeath, where the Lynch surname is most common.

Irish spelling: Ó Loinsigh
Meaning: Descendent of Loingseach, a seaman. occupational surname referring to a ‘mariner.’

MacCarthy/ McCarthy

The MacCarthy surname originated primarily from Cork, Kerry, and Tipperary. Also spelled McCarthy.

Irish spelling: Mac Carthaigh
Meaning: Son of Cárthach, King of Munster (Ireland’s southern province).

Maguire

The Maguire surname is the most common in Fermanagh. Also spelled McGuire. Maguire is an Irish clan surname from the Gaelic Mac Uidhir, meaning “son of Odhar” or “son of the pale-colored one.”

Irish spelling: Mag Uidhir

Meaning: MacCarthy refers to a ‘son of Carthach’ and Carthach means ‘loving.’

Mahony

Munster was the territory of the Mahoney clan, with Mahonys (or Mahoneys) being most numerous in Cork. Brodceann O’Mahony was the eldest of the four sons of Mathghamain, known as “The Four Descendants”. The O’Mahonys were Cenél nÁeda princes of the ancient Eóganacht Raithlind.

Irish spelling: Ó Mathghamhna (modern spelling O’Mathúna)

Meaning: ‘bear’.

Martin

The Martin surname, common in both England and Ireland, can be found primarily in Galway, Tyrone, and Westmeath.

Irish spelling: Mac Giolla Mhartain

Meaning:

Moore

The ancient Irish Moores settled in Kildare, while most Moores are from Antrim and Dublin.

 Irish spelling: Ó Mordha, Muir, Moir
Meaning: Moir/Ó Mordha could mean of greatness or grandiose while Muir means sea.

Murphy

The most common of all Irish names, the Murphy surname can be found in all four provinces. Murphys are primarily from Antrim, Armagh, Carlow, Cork, Kerry, Roscommon, Sligo, Tyrone, and Wexford, however.

Irish spelling: Ó Murchadha
Meaning: Descendent of Murchadh, a sea warrior.

Murray

The Murray surname is especially prolific in Donegal.

Irish spelling: Ó Muireadhaigh
Meaning: Descendent of Muireadhaigh, a seaman. Muireadhach is a variant of ‘Muiredach’ referring to ‘lord’ in Irish.

Nolan

Nolan families have always been very numerous in Carlow, and can also be found in Fermanagh, Longford, Mayo, and Roscommon. It is an anglicized version of ‘Ó Nuallain’ referring to ‘descendant of Nuallan.

Irish spelling: Ó Nuallain

Meaning: Nuallan means ‘noble’ or ‘famous.’

O’Brien

One of Ireland’s leading aristocratic families, the O Briens are primarily from Clare, Limerick, Tipperary, and Waterford. It originates from ‘Ó Briain,’ which means ‘descendant of Brian.

Irish spelling: Ó Briain
Meaning: Descendent of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland. Brian means ‘high’ or ‘noble.’

O’Donnell

The O Donnell clans originally settled in Clare and Galway, but today they are most numerous in County Donegal. Sometimes modified to O’Donnelly. It is the anglicized variant of ‘Ó Domhnaill’ which means ‘descendant of Domhnall.’

Irish spelling: Ó Domhnaill

Meaning: Domhnall is the Gaelic version of the phrase ‘ruler of the world.’

O’Neill

One of three royal Irish families, the O Neills are from Antrim, Armagh, Carlow, Clare, Cork, Down, Tipperary, Tyrone, and Waterford. This surname refers to ‘descendant of Neil.’

Irish spelling: Ó Néill
Meaning: Descendent of Niall Noigiallach, an Irish king. Neil comes from ‘Niall,’ a Gaelic word with several meanings, namely ‘cloud,’ ‘champion,’ or ‘passionate.’

Quinn

From Ceann, the Irish word for head, the name Ó Cuinn means intelligent. In general, Catholics spell the name with two ns, while Protestants spell it with one. The Quinns are primarily from Antrim, Clare, Longford, and Tyrone, where their surname is the most common. It is an anglicized version of ‘Ó Cuinn’ that means ‘descendant of Conn.’

Irish spelling: Ó Cuinn

Meaning: Conn refers to a ‘chief’ in Gaelic.

(O) Reilly

Descendants of the O Conor kings of Connacht, the Reillys are primarily from Cavan, Cork, Longford, and Meath.

Irish spelling: Ó Raghallaigh

Meaning:

Ryan

The Ó Riain and Ryan families of Ireland are primarily from Carlow and Tipperary, where Ryan is the most common surname. They can also be found in Limerick. This Irish surname is an anglicized version of ‘Ó Riain’ meaning ‘descendant of Rian.’

Irish spelling: Ó Riain
Meaning: Descendent of Riain, a king. Rian refers to ‘little king.’

Shea/ O’Shea

Originally the Shea family was from Kerry, though they later branched out to Tipperary during the 12th century and Kilkenny by the 15th century. Sometimes modified to Shay.

Irish spelling: Ó Séaghdha
Meaning: Descendent of the majestic.

Smith

The Smiths, both English and Irish, are primarily from Antrim, Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, and Sligo. Smith is the most common surname in Antrim.

Smith/McGowan
Irish spelling: Mac Gabhann
Meaning: Son of the blacksmith.

(O) Sullivan

Originally settled in County Tipperary, the Sullivan family spread into Kerry and Cork, where they are now most numerous, and their surname is the most common. It is an anglicized form of ‘Ó Súileabháin,’ meaning ‘descendant of Suileabhan.’

Irish spelling: Ó Suileabháin

Meaning: name ‘Suileabhan’ refers to the phrase ‘little dark eye.’

Sweeney

Sweeney families are found primarily in Cork, Donegal, and Kerry.

Irish spelling: Mac Suibhne
Meaning: Son of Suibhne, a Scottish lord whose grandson arrived to Ireland and brought the name with him.

Thompson

This English name is the second most common non-Irish name found in Ireland, especially in Ulster. The Thomson surname, without the “p,” is Scottish. Thomson is most common in Down.

Irish spelling: Mac Tomáis

Meaning:   son of Thom

Walsh

The name came into use to describe the Welsh people who came to Ireland during the Anglo-Norman invasions. Walsh families were very numerous throughout all four provinces of Ireland. Walsh is the most common surname in Mayo.

Irish spelling: Breathnach
Meaning: Welshman.

White

White families can be found in Ireland throughout Down, Limerick, Sligo, and Wexford. It is a descriptive name given to a person who was fair-haired or had a pale complexion, from the Middle English “whit,” meaningwhite.” Fionn mac Cumhail was a legendary Irish hero who became all-wise by eating an enchanted salmon. He fought against the giant Fomors with his son Oisín and grandson Oscar.

Irish spelling:  Fionn (older Irish finn)

Meaning: person who was fair-haired or had a pale complexion, meaning “fair” or “white“.

Celtic Holidays, Celtic Legends, Halloween, Interesting Stories, Irish Traditions, News

The Celtic Origins of Halloween and Halloween Traditions

As children and adults around the world take part in the spooky festivities of Halloween on the night of October 31st, All Hallows Eve, few know of its ancient Irish Celtic roots in the Samhain (Samain) festival.

Read more about Celtic Halloween Origins, Samhain Traditions, and Halloween Superstitions online at The Irish Jewelry Company.

Shop Halloween jewelry like the Celtic Cat Pendant , Celtic Fairy Pendant and the Celtic Owl Jewelry at The Irish Jewelry Jewelry Company

Irish Halloween Traditions and Halloween Origins. (n.d.). Retrieved October 13, 2020, from https://www.theirishjewelrycompany.com/irish_halloween_traditions_halloween_origins.

Claddagh Rings, Interesting Stories, Irish Jewelry, Irish Traditions

Irish Claddagh Ring Meaning and Claddagh Ring Wedding Traditions

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.

an Irish claddagh ring

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 or Clodagh Ring, like it sounds (Irish: fáinne Chladaigh) is a traditional Irish ring. The Claddagh ring literally means eternal love, loyalty, and friendship. Claddagh ring consists 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 treasure by Irish and non Irish all around the world.

A short history of the Claddagh ring.

Irish Jeweler crafting Irish jewelry on his workbench

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 unbelievable joy he discovered that his true love had waited for him. So 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 the Claddagh. Do you have someone in your life to which you pledge your love, loyalty and friendship forever?

Traditional matching Claddagh wedding bands

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, Claddagh engagement rings or as Claddagh 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 bridesmaids 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.

Says Jennifer Derrig, owner of The Irish Jewelry Company

Are there different types of Claddaghs?

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.

Shop beautiful and unique Claddagh Rings and Claddagh Jewelry at The Irish Jewelry Company .

Celtic Holidays, Celtic Motherhood Jewelry, Interesting Stories, Irish Jewelry, Irish Traditions, Irish Wit & Wisdom, Mother's Day, News

Key Signs You Were Raised by an Irish Mom or Italian Mom

family, motherhood, children, parenthood and people concept – happy mother kissing her baby over green natural background

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.

Shop Irish gifts for mom

“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.

Halloween, Interesting Stories, Irish Traditions

IRISH HALLOWEEN TRADITION – BARMBRACK

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.

Recipe
INGREDIENTS

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 12002851_1068039236547381_8260594681565605031_n
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)

 

Happy Halloween!

To wish someone a happy Halloween, you can say:

Oíche Shamhna Shona Duit (EE-hyeh HOW-nuh HUN-uh ditch*)

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Celtic Holidays, Celtic Legends, Halloween, Interesting Stories, Irish Traditions

The Pooka In Irish Folklore

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.

The Phooka
Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee

 

Read more about Celtic Halloween Traditions and Origins. Shop Irish Halloween Gifts.

Interesting Stories, Irish Christmas, Irish Traditions

Irish Christmas Traditions

irish christmas traditions

Ireland is a magical country, filled with old Irish traditions and folklore dating back many years. Christmas in Ireland is an especially magical time of year. Many Irish Christmas traditions have become part of the Christmas celebration of many nationalities and have made their way into main stream American Christmas customs.

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?

In Ireland celebrating the Feast Day of St. Stephen’s is usually accompanied with the Wren Boy Procession. Saint Stephen’s Day celebrated on December 26th, also know as the Day of the Wren is a national holiday in Ireland.

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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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jennifer_Derrig/2157773

via Irish Christmas Traditions and Customs.

Interesting Stories, Irish Christmas, News

Christmas Gift Delivery Shipping & Delivery for 2015

holiday image 1000x360

Christmas Gift Delivery, by Christmas Eve Dec 24th 2015

2015 Christmas Shipping (Recommended Cut-Off Dates)

Standard International Shipping: Order by Dec. 11th.

UPS Ground/Flat Rate Shipping: (East Coast) Order by Monday, Dec. 21st by 10am Est for delivery on or about Dec. 24th. (this is not guaranteed)

(West Coast) Order by Friday, Dec. 18th by 10am Est for delivery on or about Dec. 24th. (this is not guaranteed)

UPS 3Day Select Shipping: Order by Monday Dec. 21st by 10am Est for delivery on Dec. 24th anytime time up until 9pm. (Guaranteed Delivery)

UPS 2Day Shipping: Order by Tuesday Dec. 22nd by 10am Est for delivery on Dec 24th anytime time up until 9pm. (Guaranteed Delivery)

UPS Next Day Shipping:  Order by Wdnesday Dec. 23rd by 11:30am Est for delivery on Dec. 24th anytime time up until 9pm. (Guaranteed Delivery)

Important Holiday Shipping Dates and Information:

Thanksgiving, Nov. 26th 2015 (IJC Customer service is unavailable we are CLOSED)

Black Friday, Nov. 27th2015 (IJC Customer service is unavailable we are CLOSED)

Small Buisness Saturday, Nov. 28th 2015

Cyber Monday, Nov. 29th 2015

Christmas Eve, Thursday Dec 24th 2015

  • Normal delivery of air, international and ground shipments.
  • Pickup service available for air and international shipments if prearranged by Tuesday, Dec. 23. UPS On-Call Pickup service and UPS Drop Boxes are available to all customers for air and international shipments.* No UPS Ground, UPS Standard or 3 Day Select pickups until Friday, Dec. 26.

Christmas Day, Friday Dec. 25th 2015

No UPS pickup or delivery service. (IJC Customer service is unavailable we are CLOSED)

New Years Eve & News Years Day 2016

No UPS pickup or delivery service. (IJC Customer service is unavailable we are CLOSED)

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