The story of the Claddagh: In the late 1600's a fishing fleet from the village of Claddagh, was in the South Atlantic, when they were captured by Algerian pirates. One of the sailors in the Claddagh fleet was Richard Joyce. Richard was to be married when the fleet was to return to Claddagh, but instead was sold into slavery. He was bought by a Moorish gold merchant who trained him to be a craftsman. Richard never forgot his true love and fashioned a ring to remember her. Many years later Richard gained his freedom and returned to Ireland. He discovered his true love, after all those many years had never married. Richard gave his true love the ring and they married and settled in Claddagh. The ring Richard designed signified friendship with the hands, loyalty with the crown, and love with the heart.
When the Claddagh ring is worn on the left hand with the heart facing one's heart, it is a betrothal, or a wedding ring. Worn on the right hand, with the heart facing outward, is a sign of friendship.