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Common Irish Tattoos: What Do They Mean?

Updated December 16, 2019 106.1k views14 items
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Chances are you've probably seen your share of Irish tattoos. Whether they take the form of a cool-looking Celtic knot or a claddagh symbol (which was first made popular by the claddagh ring), you may have wondered about the actual meanings of Irish tattoos. Get ready to get mystical and dive into this collection of popular Irish tattoo designs, complete with their meanings.

This list includes a series of Irish tattoo pictures that represent a rich cultural history with a ton symbolism, some of which goes back centuries in time. So whether you’re looking for Irish symbol tattoos to represent your heritage or just occasionally find yourself wondering what various Irish tattoos mean, this is the list for you. Keep scrolling for a peek at some of the most popular Ireland tattoos.
  • The Triquetra


    These three interlocking loops are what the Irish call a "triquetra," one of the most commonly seen forms of Celtic knots. The three interlocking loops form a sort of pyramid, and there is no beginning or end. This symbolizes eternity and is sometimes accentuated with a circle that surrounds the group of knots, which is also though to add protection.

    Some say the three knots symbolize the Christian trinity or the old Druid mother goddess who takes three forms as the maiden, woman, and crone. 


  • The Triskelion

    The triskelion, or triskel/triskele for short, is a simple triple spiral, packed with loads of Celtic symbolism. Since each of it's "legs" appear to be moving, it's often though of as a symbol of forward motion. The three spirals signify different things to different people, including:

    - The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
    - Past, Present, Future
    - Spirit, Mind, Body 
    - Life, Death, Rebirth

    Others combine the various meanings and think of it as a symbol for constant spiritual progression. 
  • Gra' Mo Chroi

    "Gra' mo chroi" is yet another old Gaelic expression of love. It translates to "love of my heart."
  • The Irish Harp

    Photo: RavMedic / Twitter
    As you may have noticed from it's appearance on everything from the Great Seal of Ireland to the Guinness logo, the Irish really dig harps. A popular instrument among the Celts since ancient times, the harp was said to reflect the immortality of the soul and has become the traditional symbol of the Irish in general.