The Claddagh Ring - A ring with humble roots from the heart of Galway that has managed to spread across all four corners of the the globe. With a romantic history and new love stories being born everyday, the rings allure continues to grow.
The ring that first appeared in Galway over three centuries ago when Richard Joyce created the ring while enslaved in Algeria and brought it home to his sweetheart many years later when he was freed. Over the following years the ring was just worn within the Claddagh community, passed down from mother to daughter. Since then the ring popularity has spread across the world gaining attention with the help of some notable wearers. From the British Monarchy to modern pop culture many famous people have worn the ring, some with Irish roots, some who simply adore the symbolism. Here are just a few notable wearers.
John F Kennedy. Perhaps one of the most beloved political figures in history was an owner of a Claddagh ring along with his wife Jackie. They had purchased the rings on a visit to Galway, Ireland in 1963. Ronald Regan and Bill Clinton were also gifted Claddagh Rings from the people of Ireland.
The ring has also adorned the hands of royalty with Queen Victoria wearing a Claddagh Ring after visiting Ireland in 1849. Her son King Edward VII and his wife Queen Alexandra also wore the ring. Irish-American beauty Grace Kelly was already a Hollywood Princess who became the beloved Princess Grace of Monaco was photographed wearing a Claddagh Ring as well as her husband Prince Rainier.
The Claddagh ring has often featured in Hollywood over the decades. Walt Disney famously wore a Claddagh Ring. You can see this the Partners Statue in Disney world Florida. He purchased the ring on a trip to Ireland with his wife Lillian when discovering his Irish roots. There is much speculation on why he wore the ring with the heart facing out as he was married! Perhaps no one explained to him that you wear the heart facing in if your heart is taken.
Irish film actress and singer Maureen O'Hara was given a Claddagh Ring while filming The Quiet Man. Like his co star, John Wayne was also given a Claddagh Ring during his time here. Hollywood hell-raiser Peter O Toole wore a Claddagh Ring and even wore it on screen in many of his movies. Daniel Day Lewis frequently wears a gold Claddagh Ring. It is even rumored that he had given one to Julia Roberts back in the nineties when they were dating. Dublin-born actor Gabriel Byrne is rarely seen without his Claddagh ring. He has been known to switch the ring around depending on his marital status. Actress and activist Mia Farrow has often been spotted wearing a Claddagh Ring linking to her Irish roots. Her mother was famous Irish actress Maureen O'Sullivan - best known for her role as Jane in the Tarzan.
Rock God Jim Morrison famously exchanged Claddagh Rings with Patricia Kennealy in a Celtic wedding ceremony. The Claddagh ring experienced a revival in recent times thanks to modern culture, most notably Buffy the vampire slayer. Buffy fans will remember when Angel presented the ring to Buffy as a birthday gift. The ring was also feature in an episode of Days of our lives when Bo presented a Claddagh ring to Carly.
In literature the Claddagh ring featured in Ian Flemings Goldfinger with James Bonds love interest Jill Masterton wearing a Claddagh Ring. The ring did not feature the crown with is thought to have portrayed her lack of loyalty to anyone. Joe Pistone, aka “Donnie Brasco” recalled in his book "Unfinished Business" how he always wore a Claddagh Ring his wife gave to him. "I attribute it to her being Irish" he wrote.
So there you have it. Some famous Claddagh Ring wearers from the past and the present. No doubt there will be many more famous Claddagh Ring wearers in the future as the ring and its story continue to spread. If you've got any romantic Claddagh Ring stories please tell us your story at: [email protected]
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