by Paulo Coelho
"May God give you…
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer."
"An Old Celtic Blessing"
"May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand."
The ring shows two hands holding a heart which wears a crown. This motif is explained in the phrase: “Let Love and Friendship reign”, and ideal poesy for a wedding ring used by a small community for over four hundred years. This distinctive design is associated with one of the Tribes of Galway, the Joyce family. Margaret Joyce married Domingo de Rona, a wealthy Spaniard, who, when he died, left her his fortune, which she subsequently used to build bridges in the Province of Connacht.
Margaret, who later married Oliver Of French, Mayor of Galway 1596, was providentially rewarded for her good works and charity by an eagle which dropped a gold ring into her lap. This fanciful legend had a more factual opponent in the story of Richard Joyce, or Joyces. Richard en route to the West Indies, was captured by Algerian corsairs and sold as a slave to a Moorish goldsmith who trained him. Released from slavery in 1689, at the demand of William III of England, Joyce, in spite of substantial inducement to stay, returned to Galway and set up as a goldsmith. His work marked with an anchor signifying Hope and initials R.I. still exists. The Claddagh Ring motif is attributed to him.
The Claddagh Ring became popular outside the Claddagh about the middle of the last century, especially as it was the only ring made in Ireland worn by Queen Victoria and later by Queen Alexandra and King Edward VII. These rings were made and supplied by Dillon of Galway to whom the Royal Patent was granted. This tradition has been carried on to this day. The tradition of how to wear this ring is very distinctive. If the owner of the ring wears it with the crown pointing towards the finger nail, he or she is said to be in love or married. To wear the ring with heart pointing to the finger nail, he or she is said to be unattached to anyone.”