Symbols of Ireland: an overview of Irish myths, legends and culture

Ireland is a country with a rich cultural and historical heritage that is famous for its symbols and traditions. Many of these symbols and traditions have become national symbols of Ireland, which are now recognised and loved around the world.

The Shamrock


It is one of Ireland’s most recognisable national symbols. It is a symbol that consists of a three leaf clover plant, and it has deep religious significance to the Irish.

Legend has it that St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, used the shamrock to explain the holy trinity. The shamrock is now widely used as a symbol of Ireland and is often found on various items such as coins, flags and souvenirs.

The Claddagh

Кольцо Кладдах (Claddagh)

It is another important national symbol of Ireland. The Claddagh is a symbol consisting of two hands holding a heart surmounted by a crown.

This symbol is a symbol of love, friendship and loyalty and is widely used as an adornment on rings and other jewellery. Getting married to a Claddagh wedding ring is considered a special tradition in Ireland.

Celtic Cross

Кельтский крест

This is another symbol closely associated with Ireland. This cross is decorated with Celtic patterns and symbols and is one of the most famous symbols of Celtic culture.

The Celtic cross has religious significance and is often used in ecclesiastical and religious contexts.


Ирландские леприконы

These little magical men are tiny men, wearing green suits and with red sideburns, and are believed to live in the forest and store gold. They are often depicted in green hats and suits and are believed to be treasure hunters.

Irish mythology states that if you catch a leprechaun, he will owe you three wishes in exchange for his freedom. Leprechauns are widely known outside of Ireland and have become a symbol of happiness and good fortune.

Celtic Knots

Ирландские узоры

These are intricate patterns that are used to decorate various items such as jewellery, fabrics and tattoos. The cross has four equal branches, which symbolises the four elements of nature: water, fire, earth and air. As well as symbolising infinity and eternity, and are widely used as decorative elements in Celtic and Irish art.

Celtic patterns also have religious significance and are often used to decorate Celtic crosses and other religious objects.

Green Colour

The colour green is a symbol of Ireland, associated with its nature and landscape. It is associated with the earth goddess in Irish mythology and St Patricia in the Christian tradition. In the 18th century, green became the official colour of Ireland due to the Irish rebellion for independence.

Today, green is used in various forms, including the Irish flag and symbols such as the shamrock and leprechaun, and is associated with the feast of St. Patrick.

Red hair

Рыжие ирландцы

Red hair is not an official symbol of Ireland, but is often associated with the country. About 10 per cent of the Irish population has red hair, and this can be attributed to the Celtic roots of the people of Ireland.

Red hair is also associated with leprechauns, small magical creatures from Irish mythology who are often depicted with red hair.


Арфа в Ирландии

The harp is one of the symbols of Ireland and has a long history in Celtic culture. In Ireland, the harp is associated with the goddess of beauty and wisdom, Cliodna, who, according to legend, played the harp to calm the ocean and bring peace to the human world.

The harp is also the symbol of the national coat of arms of Ireland and is depicted on many official documents.


Ирландские овцы

This animal is one of Ireland’s symbols, is an important element of the country’s cultural heritage and symbolises its rich history in the production of wool and other textiles.

Irish sheep, particularly the Merino breed, are known for their soft, high quality wool, which is widely used in traditional Irish clothing, including the iconic Aran jumpers. In addition, the sheep also plays an important role in Irish culture and mythology, as its image is used in various Irish legends and stories.


Друиды в Ирландии

The Druids were an important part of the Celtic civilisation that flourished in Ireland for many centuries before Christianity. Druids were priests, sages and healers, and they played a key role in the life of the Celtic people. They were experts in magic, astronomy, astrology and many other areas of knowledge.

Druids performed many rituals and ceremonies that were related to nature and deities. They were also considered protectors of knowledge and preserved knowledge orally. Druids could act as mediators between humans and deities, and could help resolve disputes and conflicts.

One of the most famous Irish myths associated with the Druids is the story of Cúchulainn, a legendary hero and warrior who was raised by the Druids. According to many legends, the Druids could use their knowledge and magic to change shape and transform into animals or even things.

There were many spells that could be cast by the Druids to ward off evil, cure illnesses and gain knowledge. They used herbs and plants in their medicines and could also predict the future and read signs in nature.

Although the Druids almost disappeared with the advent of Christianity, many of their customs and beliefs have remained alive in Irish culture. Today, many tourists visit ancient Druid sites such as Krumenhall to feel closer to the Celtic culture and history of Ireland.

In conclusion, the symbols of Ireland are a rich and diverse heritage of Celtic culture that continues to inspire and attract people to this country from all over the world. Their significance ranges from ancient myths and legends to modern Irish culture, and they remain enduring symbols of national pride and cultural heritage.

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