Claddagh, an Irish Icon
County Galway, Ireland
Barry Thomas Hendrickson, © Hendrickson Fine Art Photography
I learned about the Claddagh ring from my mother. It is a long lasting Irish symbol of love and faithfulness. The heart stands for love, the hands for friendship and the crown for loyalty. My mother gave a Claddagh ring to each of her three daughters. So, I happily received my own Claddagh ring a few decades ago. I later learned that the ring is often used as a wedding ring, and how it is worn has meaning too. If the heart points inwards, you are spoken for, or when the heart is points away are open to a new love.
While Barry and I were visiting Galway City, we stumbled across this carving of the Claddagh. I just loved this stone representation of the ring I knew about for so long. Of course, Barry had to photograph it.
An interesting fact we learned was The Claddagh was not just a ring, but a place, too. Formerly, the Claddagh was an old fishing village, situated across the river and lying outside the old city walls of Galway. Many stories about the Claddagh ring, going back centuries start from this place. Just adding more interest to this layered Irish symbol.
This old plate glass negative of the Claddagh village was taken between 1865 and 1910. Currently, the Claddagh is a suburb of Galway City, so nothing remains of these old thatched homes. If you love these old Ireland photos like I do, you can find more at the National Library of Ireland catalogue. >
The Claddagh (shown at top) — Barry’s black and white photographic rendering of this long-standing Irish symbol is a favorite, loved by family, friends and collectors.