Irish Symbols

 

Irish symbols meanings continue to fascinate - the ancient Celtic symbols and signs held incredible, meaningful power in their lives.

The ancient Celts, the people who lived in Britain and Ireland from 500BC to 400AD, considered their Celtic symbols and signs to hold incredible, meaningful power in their lives. The stories behind their Celtic symbols have been carried on from generation to generation with the help of bards and storytellers, allowing their heritage to live on. Even though the lack of written history means that Celtic symbolism is open to interpretation, the meanings are fairly evident. The relevance and significance of the Celtic symbols are timeless; themes of love, loyalty, energy, wisdom a, d war which are very much alive today. So tap into the nature and energy of the Celts, and learn about the language of Celtic symbols.

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The Irish Harp

The Irish harp or cláirseach has been on the coat of arms of Ireland as a heraldic emblem since the early 13th century or perhaps the 6th century. Ancient chieftain musicians played the harp and it is one of the most poupular instruments in Ireland today. The symbol of the harp can be found on coins, the state seal and a Guinness glass.


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Shamrock

The word shamrock seamróg comes from the Irish word for clover seamair, and óg “young” or “little”. It is often mistaken with the four-leaf clover, a confusion caused by phrases like “the luck of the Irish” and the superstition that the four-leaf clover is the lucky shamrock to anyone who finds it.

In the later part of the 18th century the shamrock took on a new nationalistic meaning as an emblem for militias. Cf Theobald Wolfe Tone. Far less politicized now, the shamrock is a registered trademark of the Irish government.Ireland. The shamrock was perhaps made famous by St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland.


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Claddagh

·The claddagh represents love (heart), loyalty (crown) and friendship (hands) with the circular knot showing continuity.


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Tricolor Flag

This flag, used in 1848, symbolizes hope and peace. The green color on represents the native people of Ireland (most of whom are Roman Catholic); the orange color represents the British supporters of William of Orange who settled in Northern Ireland in the 17th century (most of whom are Protestant). The white middle stripe symbolizes a wish for harmony and unity between the two.


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Celtic Cross

· This is a symbol of faith for all Celts. It appears as a decorative element on large standing stone crosses and in the Book of Kells. This symbol combines the traditional Christian cross with a ring through the cross’s intersection. It is also referred to as the High Cross, the Irish Cross and the Cross of Iona.


Celtic Tree of Life

The Celtic Tree of Life symbol has many different interpretations – harmony, balance and a symbol of immortality. To the Celts, the tree of life is symbolizes strength, long life and wisdom.


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Celtic Horse

The horse is probably the animal most strongly associated with Celtic culture with religious and mystical associations. The horse was so important to the Celts it was associated with the sun god, who often appeared as a horse with a human face. Perhaps the best-known horse deity of the Celts was the Goddess Epona, the horse-mother, a goddess of warriors who had the honor of becoming the only Celtic goddess worshiped within the borders of Rome.


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Celtic Dragon

A mythical creature thought to be a Celtic symbol of fertility and power. The Celts believed dragons were creatures of magic and power. Their very presence could affect how magic flowed through the land. Christians later associated the dragon with Satan, and pagan evil.



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Celtic Hounds

Guardian figures and sources of healing power. Hounds are associated with various Celtic gods and goddesses, including the famous Irish mythological hero Cúchulainn. Celtic hounds were dogs well respected by royalty and warriors. They were given as gifts to men of honor and warriors. Chiefs took their titles such as “Hound of Culann” as a show of loyalty and courage.



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Irish Ogham Alphabet

A gift from the Celtic god Ogmios, or the god of eloquence. Ogham is an ancient alphabet that appeared in Ireland at least 1,600 years ago. It was used to inscribe primitive Irish onto stone monuments, the oldest known form of the Gaelic languages. The true origin of the alphabet remains a complete mystery.


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St Brigid Cross

This cross is traditionally made from rushes or straw at the beginning of February to honor Brigid. It is then hung in the home and is said to protect the house from fire.


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Triquetra aka the Trinity Knot

This knot has pre-Christian and Christian meanings. The druids believed that this traditional triquetra represented three separate entities that are interconnected like earth, air, and water. The Christians believe that the knot represents the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

CELTIC KNOT MEANINGS

Eternity Knot: With no beginning and no ending this knot is symbolic of eternity or continuum. This symbol of continuum reinforces the endurance of tradition and heritage.

Newgrange Triple Spiral : This ancient design is carved into the stones at Newgrange which is a burial mound that dates back to 3200 BC - 500 years older than the pyramids at Giza. Its true meaning is unknown but many scholars believe that the three spirals represent birth, life and afterlife.

The Celtic Nations Knot: This symbol is said to represent the seven Celtic nations which are: Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Cornwall, Galicia in Spain and Brittany in France.

 The Celtic Shield Knot: This symbol represents protection. The Celts used this symbol to ward off evil and sickness. They put this design on warriors shields and on children’s clothing to protect them.

 Goddess Triple Spiral:  This symbol represents the three phases of the journey through womanhood-maiden mother and crone. The maiden with youth exuberance and purity. The mother with fertility compassion and stability. And the crone with wisdom fulfillment and tranquility.

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