Monday, March 11, 2013

The Author Post: Blog #20, "The Irish Claddagh: Friendship, Love & Loyalty"

I thought it appropriate to bring a little "Irish" to my blog this month, since St. Patrick's Day is this weekend. As you may have guessed by my name, Heather Erin (Conley) Nelson, I am a good part Irish, with light auburn hair and all! No blarney about that! Being Irish is in my blood and my rich Irish heritage goes way back to the earliest of my ancestors.

I love this time of year with Spring about to "bloom" as we come into a season of "renewal." It is a time of new birth and rebirth. A time for renewing vows and promises to ourselves. A time when the gray shades of winter begin to lighten with each passing day. A time to rise above all hope toward a brighter future. I know you're getting excited now about all the windows of opportunity opening for you, because I know I am!

The Irish Claddagh Story ties into this nicely. It offers the feeling of faith and enduring love, no matter how grim everything seems. 

Legend has it that an Irish young man, Richard Joyce, bound for the West Indian slave plantations - the Irish Caribbean island of Montserrat - was kidnapped in rough seas by a band of Mediterranean pirates, leaving behind his one true love, and was sold to a Moorish goldsmith. Over the many long years of his exile, the goldsmith helped him perfect the skills of a master craftsman.

In 1689, King William III negotiated the return of the slaves and Joyce returned to Galway. 
In Ireland, a young women who had never stopped faithfully waiting for her true love to return was still waiting for Joyce, whom after years apart, presented her with the now famous  Claddagh gold ring - a symbol of their enduring love. Two hands to represent their friendship, the crown to signify their loyalty and lasting fidelity, and the heart to symbolize their eternal love for each other. They soon married, never to be separated again.

When Richard Joyce and his true love reunited, they began to renew their love that was so faithful and true. They began to start a fresh, new life together, with fresh, new hope for a wonderful future. Let this time of the year be a fresh, new beginning for you, too. Strengthen your faith in God, set new goals, reach to new and exciting heights and let God guide your life to new levels of abundance!! The past and present are only stepping stones to new and great adventures.

The Claddagh is a unique and distinctive Irish love symbol. The traditional Claddagh jewelry or friendship ring is worn by both men and women all over Ireland and is probably the most widely known of Irish jewelry designs. 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.  

How to wear the Claddagh

Worn on the right hand, crown turned inwards, your heart is yet unoccupied.
Worn on the right hand, crown turned outwards, shows a special commitment to someone.
Worn on the left hand, crown outwards, let our love and friendship reign forever - never to be separated.

Anyway, God created us to be true friends, to love, and to be loyal to one another. This is the only way to live in harmony in order to be Blessed richly and in order for God to pour down His favor on us. We can certainly learn a lot from the ancient legends of Ireland, from the Irish and from numerous Irish Blessings and Prayers that were written years ago. I will leave you with a few:

An Irish Prayer
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 Irish Blessing
May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!
A Wish for a Friend
Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For blessings and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

Faithfully, H. Erin Nelson, Author