Monday, February 9, 2009

Irish Tattoos Style

he Emerald Isle has inspired many forms of art - from poetry and music to paintings. Ireland's many icons and symbols have also inspired tattoo artists around the world. Irish tattoos are among some of the most popular tattoos seen today.

Popular Irish Symbols

There are many Irish symbols seen throughout the world. The shamrock, for example, is a three-leafed young clover that is used as the unofficial symbol of Ireland. Used to signify good luck as well as Irish heritage, some men and women of Irish decent choose to get a shamrock tattoo. Some other Irish tattoos include:
  • Celtic Knots - intricate patterns that are arranged into historical forms that can be traced back to ancient times
  • Harps - the harp is a traditional symbol of Ireland
  • Words, such as names or sayings, in Gaelic
  • Faeries
  • Claddagh

Irish Tattoo Meanings

Some people who get Irish tattoos do so because the imagery of Ireland holds special meaning. The claddagh is one of those images that evokes strong feelings. This symbol consists of a heart surrounded by two hands and is topped off with a crown. The claddagh is said to represent friendship - as well as love - with the three parts each signifying a different own sentiment. The crown is for loyalty, the hands are for friendship, and the heart is for love.

The Celtic cross is an ancient symbol native to the Celtic lands and predates Christianity. It was originally used by the Druids as a symbol of the moon goddess, but as many people converted to Christianity and Catholicism, what this cross represented changed to it's current Christian meaning.

There are even different meanings assigned to Celtic knots, depending on the pattern of weaving and shape. For instance, a Celtic knot in the shape of a heart. A three-cornered Celtic knot is also known as the "Trinity" or the "Triquetra" and represents the unity of heart, soul, and mind.

Getting Ideas for Your Tattoo

There are many places to get ideas for your Irish tattoo. Books of Ireland's symbols, such as shamrocks, Celtic knots and Celtic crosses, can be a good source of ideas and a basis for the beginning of a tattoo design. Many Tattoo Studios also offer tattoo flash, which often contains Irish- or Celtic-themed designs. Additionally, there are web sites that offer different tattoo images to help you choose your tat.

  • The Celtic Lady offers tattoo flash (for a fee) that you can print out and take to your tattoo artist. Her site includes claddaghs, Celtic knots and even Pagan symbols.
  • LuckyFish Art has tattoo images in a variety of themes and styles, specializing Celtic and Irish.

Irish and Celtic Tattoos

There is a lot of crossover between Celtic and Irish tattoos, and many Celtic Tattoos can also be considered Irish. In fact, there are only a few Celtic tattoos that are not also Irish. These include the spirals of war, a design from the Scottish highlands, and the thistle, which is the national symbol of Scotland. Most Celtic tattoos, such as knots and crosses, are both Scottish and Irish in origin and make perfect symbols for celebrating your Irish heritage.

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