This intricately and finely detailed Claddagh plaque is adorned with the symbols and culture of Ireland; it is crafted from cast resin and finished to give it the appearance of burnished bronze. Angels, crosses and clover are set among Celtic knotwork and the clasped crowned heart of the Claddagh form the circular centerpiece.
The reverse of the plaque is lined with black felt and it has a hanging ring with which to fit this Claddagh to the wall.
Hands of Friendship, a Heart of Love and a Crown of Loyalty; the Claddagh is not only a symbol of Ireland, but that of the the bonds of friendship, love and the loyalty and the depth of those bonds that bind the most meaningful of relationships.
The symbol originates in the early 17th century from the aptly named fishing village of Claddagh. The Claddagh as a ring is a type of ring called a fede ring; these rings date back to Roman antiquity and and were noted by the ring band being completed by two clasped hands to symbolize the pledging of vows. Rings of this style have persisted through the centuries and reached a new height of popularity in the late medieval and Renaissance period – the Claddagh is one such ring style of this period.
There are several origin stories for the Claddagh, but one of the most colorful purports that a Galway silversmith, Richard Joyce fell into slavery to Algerian pirates in a transit to the West Indies. He was purchased by a Moorish goldsmith and under his tutelage mastered the craft of goldsmithing.
After King William IIIs diplomatic efforts freed all subjects of the British Isles from Algeria, Joyce, who had been enslaved for 14 years finally returned to Ireland. There, in Claddagh he continued his goldsmithing trade and began crafting Claddagh rings – of which his initials are borne on some of the earlier Claddagh rings that have passed through the centuries.