The Irish Celtic symbol for family

Looking for a gift for a loved one, or an idea for a new tattoo? Delve deeper in the rich world of Celtic mythology with our guide to the Irish Celtic symbol for family.

The Irish Celtic symbol for family

In recent years, interest in Celtic symbolism has seen a revival. Whether as a tattoo or incorporated into a piece of jewellery, people have been using these ancient symbols to reconnect them to their Celtic heritage all over the world.

There is a rich world of culture and mystery ready to be explored within Celtic mythology, and those who have descended from these ancient people have found great meaning in their symbols of love, life and strength.

There is not one specific Irish Celtic symbol for family, but several. Learn more about them below.

Triskelion – the Irish Celtic symbol for family

The Triskelion is the Irish Celtic symbol for family.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

This recognisable Irish Celtic symbol for family consists of three conjoined spirals and rotational symmetry. The three-sided nature of the design is common in Celtic symbolism, with three being a sacred number to the Celts.

It is often used to symbolise sacred sets of three. For example, birth, life death, the past, present and future, and the three trimesters of human pregnancy. This symbol is often used as a symbol for the strength of familial bonds and overcoming of adversity.

Triquetra/Trinity Knot – one of the most recognisable symbols

The Trinity Knot is one of the most recognisable Irish celtic symbols.

This famous Celtic knot symbol is perhaps one of the most recognisable Irish Celtic symbols out there. You might be familiar with it from various pieces of jewellery, or from the popular 90s TV show Charmed, but this symbol is actually one of the oldest pieces of imagery out there.

The design consists of one continuous line interweaving around itself, and is thought to symbolise unity, eternal spiritual life, and the trinity of soul, heart, and mind. This symbol can also be used to signify the enduring nature of family lineage and love. 

Serch Bythol – a popular design for engagement and wedding rings

Serch Bythol is a popular design for engagement and wedding rings.
Credit: @freshoffthesaw / Instagram

This ancient Celtic symbol is made up of two triskeles and has been a popular design for engagement and wedding rings in recent years.

Echoing the symbolism of the Triskelion, this is a symbol for everlasting love. It is said to represent two people joining together in body, mind and spirit. This is a popular symbol for new families and couples.

A Claddagh ring – ­for jewellery popular worldwide

The Claddagh rings are extremely popular in Ireland and around the world.
Credit: @claddaghring / Instagram

Beyond Ireland, The Claddagh ring has proven very popular in jewellery all over the world. The heart of the ring is said to symbolise love, while the hands are said to represent friendship and the crown symbolising loyalty.

For this reason, it has proven popular in gifts for family members in the emerald isle and beyond.  

St. Brigid’s Cross – pre-dating Christianity

St Bridgid's Cross is a very important Irish Celtic symbol that predates Christianity.
Credit: @tracygilbertdesigns / Instagram

Often associated with the feast day of Christian saint St. Brigid of Kildare, the origins of this intricate cross pre-date Christianity itself.

The symbol is also associated with an ancient Irish goddess of fire and life, and is often associated with motherhood, making it the perfect symbol to incorporate into Mother’s Day cards or gifts.

While the country was converted to Christianity on a whole, it seems as though the love that ancient Irish people had for this goddess proved too strong to be completely eradicated. As such, she was transformed into the saint that Irish people are familiar with today.

The cross is traditionally woven out of rushes and sometimes straw on the feast of Imbolc/St. Brigid’s Day (traditionally celebrated on February 1st) to mark the beginning of spring.

Celtic Tree of Life – representing eternal life and love

Celtic Tree of Life – representing eternal life and love

Trees were of great significance to our ancestors. To Celtic people, these ancient living beings were considered sacred.

Each native tree to Ireland was thought to represent something different, for example the Oak tree became a symbol of strength and wisdom, while the bark of the Hazel tree was used to ward of malevolent energies.

Trees were thought to represent eternal life and love, making them great symbols for family. Why not treat a loved one to a unique piece of jewellery or a gift with the Celtic Symbol of life carved into it?

Irish Celtic cross.

While much remains unknown about our ancient Celtic ancestors and their way of life, their symbols of family, love and life have managed to endure the test of time.

Whether you live in Ireland, or you simply want to learn more about this fascinating culture and believes, the Irish Celtic symbol for family could serve as a starting point on a road of discovery. There is much to learn from our ancestors, so get exploring!