Saturday, October 23, 2010

Celtic Claddagh, decorative ceramic tile

8 x 8 relief carved ceramic Claddagh tile, a symbol of love, friendship & loyalty.
The Claddagh ring was designed around 400 years ago by Richard Joyce in a fishing village called Claddagh overlooking Galway Bay. It belongs to a group of finger rings which date from Roman times called Fede or Faith rings. The Claddagh is a very distinctive design amongst Fede rings and there are several stories as to it's origins. One of the more popular tales is that a Richard Joyce of Galway was captured by Algerian corsairs and sold to a Moorish goldsmith,  from whom he learned the craft. In 1689, as the result of a demand from King William III, he was released from slavery. The Moor offered him his only daughter in marriage along with half his wealth if he would remain in Algiers. Richard declined and returned home with the idea and skills to craft the Claddagh ring. The earliest rings to be traced bear his mark & initials.