The Claddagh Legend - Early 16th century legend tells that a fishing boat, from the village of Claddagh in Co. Galway, Ireland, was captured by pirates and the crew taken as slaves. One of the crewmembers, Richard Joyce, was to have been married the same week he was captured. His bride-to-be was inconsolable. Years went by and Richard became a master of his trade - goldsmithing. His skillful hands shaped a unique ring for the girl he could never forget. The design was born of their love. At the center a heart, symbolizing their love, on top a crown, symbolizing their loyalty, and two hands holding the heart, symbolizing the caring friendship they shared. After eight years, Richard escaped and returned to his native village of Claddagh. He found, to his great joy, that the girl he could not forget had not forgotten him and she had never married. He gave to her the special ring he had crafted. They married soon afterwards, never to be separated again.