Claddagh Ring


SP is a current student at California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo where she studies Geography and Anthropology. She is originally from Seattle, WA and grew up in a small town nearby. She grew up in a typical American middle-class family. She attended a public high school in Washington where she grew up with a sister and her mother and father. She has a background of being half-Mexican and half Irish/Italian that has in some ways heavily influenced her beliefs as well as her religious beliefs rooted in Catholicism.

Is there anything else that you have or do that you feel specifically connected to or you resonate with?

SP: I wear a ring every day that my mom gave me that is a Irish Claddagh ring that is very sentimental to me and has meaning to me. You wear it to show whether or not your heart is open or closed. The ring has two hands holding a heart with a crown on top of it. The direction you where the ring in tells people whether or not you are single. If you wear it with the crown turned towards you that means your heart is closed because it is not facing out. When the crown faces out it means your heart is closed because the point is towards you.

Why do you wear it and what does it mean to you?

SP: It is most important to me because when my mom gave it to me she told me that I should hold my heart as a special thing and not give it away so easily and since then I feel like I have always heard her words in my head when I look at my hand and think about it. It also makes me thing she is still with me at the time. I am not very in touch with my Irish heritage but this ring and its tradition makes me feel closer to my religion in ways I can’t express normally. The Claddagh ring has been around for a long time and it makes me feel attached to Irish history. We don’t celebrate much else of that heritage except for the fact that I am a practicing catholic, but even then, this is sentimentally the only Irish thing I know of that I practice. It has become very modernized but I still value it nonetheless.


The Irish Claddagh ring has been around since around 300 years ago. It symbolizes love, loyalty and friendship. The hands represent friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown represents loyalty. They once originated in a small fishing village in Ireland that created the style of the universal Claddagh today. The design makes it perfect for weddings or gifts for any occasion to women and men who value the three meanings of the ring. It can be a very sentimental symbol to people but also represent the Irish heritage. Many women today I have met wear them but do not know the true meanings behind the ring or where it originated from. I think it makes the value of it stronger to know the meaning and the origins behind it. It can make one resonate more deeply with the heritage or tradition if they know and understand the true meaning or are Irish themselves.