The Claddagh Ring
There are several myths and stories about the Claddagh ring, but the most common and most believable tale of Claddagh
history begins with a young man from Galway by the name of Richard Joyce leaving his true love to make his fortune in the
West Indies. As he was sailing , his ship was captured by a band of pirates and he was sold as a slave to a Moorish goldsmith.
Through the many years of service to the goldsmith, Richard perfected the art of jewellery making and eventually became a
master craftsman himself. When King William III negotiated the freedom of the slaves in 1689, the Moor offered Richard the
hand of his daughter and a healthy dowry, but Richard declined the offer.... for his heart still lay in Ireland.
Returning to Galway, Richard found his sweetheart had remained true to him through all those years. In a fitting tribute to
his true love, he fashioned the Claddagh ring. The two hands represented their friendship, the crown their loyalty and The
heart symbolized their love. When Richard wedded his beloved he presented the first Claddagh to her as her wedding ring.
The official first language of the Republic of Ireland is not English, it's Irish (sometimes called Gaelic). Although regarded as a minority vernacular, as much as 40% of Ireland's citizens consider themselves to be competent in it.
One of Irish's many curiosities compared to English is the absence of words that directly translate into "yes" or "no". Irish
speakers answer questions requiring a positive or negative by verb repetition. For example, when asked if someone is "Going to the pub?," the answer might be "I am," as opposed to "yes."
The history of St. Patrick is clouded in uncertainty and embellished by an expected amount of myth, but some aspects of his
life seem to hold up to historical scrutiny. Born into an affluent British family, Patrick was captured by Irish raiders and
brought to Ireland at age 16, spending the next 6 years in captivity. Following an escape, he allegedly had a vision of
returning to Ireland as a missionary. He dedicated the next 15 years to becoming an ordained priest before returning to Ireland,
both to minister to the island's Christians and to convert others.
The process of saint-making (papal canonization) did not begin until 993, when Pope John XV canonized St.
Ulrich. Prior to then, worshippers in a certain diocese had permission from the Church to celebrate certain
deceased people as saints in a liturgical or religious manner, but this never qualified for official sainthood, such is the case with Patrick.
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