The Irish Celtic symbol for family: what is it and what it means

Ireland’s culture is rich in its roots, which stretch back to the ancient times of the druids – who lived in Ireland between 500 BC and 400 AD. 

While Ireland today is a modern nation of some 6.6 million people across north and south, its history and heritage continue to be celebrated worldwide.

Most notably, Celtic symbols are synonymous with the island nation. These graphics and visuals are commonly seen on paraphernalia in Irish souvenir stores. And, they are also a common contender for a tattoo!

The reason for their enduring popularity is not only because they are representative of Ireland’s ancient past, but they also carry significant meaning. 

Telling much about Ireland’s ancient belief systems and ways of life, Celtic symbols are a portal to the past. 

The Irish Celtic symbol for family is one of the most popular and sought after symbols; let us take a look at what it is and what it means.

An abundance of symbols

The Celts had an abundance of symbols to represent several themes in the past.

While ancient-Irish-Celtic culture is deeply rooted in mysticism, meaning, and narrative, it comes as no surprise that there are, in fact, many symbols that signify family. 

These include the mystic Celtic Tree of Life, the iconic Trinity Knot, the symbolic Triskelion, the lovers Serch Bythol, and the age-old Claddagh ring.

Celtic Tree of Life – for everlasting life

The Tree of Life is another important symbol for the Celts.

Interestingly, in ancient Celtic tradition, trees play a vital role in guidance and narrative. 

The Celtic calendar was tied to native trees and, with the druids believing that trees bore sacred properties and infinite wisdom, they acted as great symbols for all eternity.

The Tree of Life is one of the most well-known images of Celtic tradition. With its everlasting endurance, beauty, and its connection between the earth, heaven, and its ancestors, it makes for a solid Irish Celtic symbol for family.

The Tree of Life is often seen depicted on jewellery as well as other souvenirs and branded items. 

Trinity Knot – a recognisable Irish Celtic symbol for family

Another of the Irish Celtic symbol for family is to do with the Trinity Knot.

This is one of the Irish Celtic symbols for family, as well as one of the most well-known Celtic representations. 

The Trinity Knot is also commonly referred to as a triquetra. This, in Latin, means a three-cornered shape. 

The symbol is made up of a continuous interweaving knot shape. It can also be commonly seen with a circle entwined in its eternal loops. 

This Celtic knot is synonymous with family, as its three points can represent the soul, heart, and mind, as well as endless love. 

Triskelion – for eternity

The Triskelion is another of the Irish Celtic symbol for family.

Like many Celtic symbols, the Triskelion is a shape with no apparent beginning or end. 

It comprises three adjoining spirals and evokes notions of movement, flow, and most importantly, eternity.

In ancient texts, this Celtic symbol suggests strength and endurance, as well as being an illustration of past, present, and future. Given this, it is commonly used in the context of family.  

Serch Bythol – the lesser-known choice

The lesser-known Irish Celtic symbol for family is the Serch Bythol.
Credit: davidmorgan.com

The Serch Bythol is an ancient Irish Celtic symbol for family that is often used on jewellery. 

This representation is formed of two triskeles and, although not as popular as other Celtic symbols, is just as significant and influential in its meaning.

The symbol itself is said to speak of undying love and commitment – an ideal fit for a family. 

While there is no one singular symbol to represent the family unit, this is often the one chosen to express a family’s solidarity.

Claddagh ring – for love, loyalty, and friendship

The Claddagh ring is another one of the Irish Celtic symbol for family.

The Claddagh ring is an age-old Irish symbol and was conceived in a small fishing village in Galway during the 17th century. 

While it is not exactly an original Celtic symbol, its endurance throughout centuries earns itself a shout out. 

The ring is a symbol of love (the heart), loyalty (the crown), and friendship (the hands). Claddagh rings are often associated with family commitment.

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