EVENING POST 18TH JUNE, 1926 P13
Among quaint old marriage rings, prized and sought after by collectors, the Claddagh ring is probably the rarest. Claddagh is a little district in the north-west of Galway, and its people are popularly supposed to date back to the Armada. Colour has been lent to this belief because the people are tall and dark, and quite unlike other Galway folk, but it is certain that they date far behind and beyond the Armada and their origin is a mystery.
The Claddagh people rarely marry outside their own race. They have always used as marriage rings heavy gold bands, with hands clasped round a heart, and for many centuries these rings have passed from father to son, and each has been given to many a dark-browed bride. On the inner surface of the band the initials of the man and the woman are engraved.
In one ring, which is hundreds of years old, the initials, some roughly carved, almost cover the time- smoothed gold. Irish jewellers make many replicas of these mysterious old rings, but the expert collector can easily detect the modern imitation, and owners of the genuine antiques prize them greatly. The one mentioned had been sought for seven years before a lucky chance brought its present posessor into contact with an old Galway woman who was willing to sell her treasure.