Looking for ancient Irish symbols? Want to know about all the different styles of Irish symbols available? Read our guide for more information on choosing the right symbol for you…
Ancient Irish symbols derived from Celtic symbols. The Celts migrated to Ireland from Central Europe between 2000BC – 300BC, centuries before the advent of Christianity. They developed symbols of their culture that reflect their close association with nature and the natural world. The Celtic Cross is an old pre-Christian symbol that was appropriated by St Patrick who advocated the Christian faith to the Celts. This cross is a significant symbol of ancient Irish people and features prominently as stone carvings and in theological manuscripts beautifully illustrated by Christian monks.
Among the ancient Irish symbols to survive to modern times is the triple spiral, which is thought to be a pre-Celtic religious symbol. Early examples of the triple spiral appeared carved on stone monoliths and used in Celtic art. It was extensively drawn in illuminated manuscripts of Celtic Christianity.
The triple spiral was the predecessor of the triskele symbol, featuring three running legs signifying movement and competition. Ancient Irish symbols featuring the triskele were noted on theological manuscripts illustrated by Benedictine monks resident in isolated monasteries during the early Christian era in Ireland. This Irish symbol is often reflected in Celtic artwork.
Special Ancient Irish Symbols
One of the ancient Irish symbols that is elaborately pictured in body art is the Celtic knot. This is an endless symbol of knots and is a stylized representation of the ordinary knot, most often depicted in Celtic art. Its unique graphical display makes the Celtic knot a favorite among tattoo artists and jewelry designers.
The triquetra, or three knots, is among the most famous ancient Irish symbols that was first depicted on Irish metalwork and Insular art like the illuminated Irish Book of Kells. This symbol was most notably used to fill the spaces of the manuscript rather than as a specific symbol on its own. The Trinity Knot is a symbol that interlaces the triquetra with a circle and is a Christian symbol of the Holy Trinity.
Ancient Irish symbols have stood the test of time and endured as unique designs of Celtic origin. These intricate and exquisite symbols have varied meanings and were very often used in the development of illuminated manuscripts. They are also beautiful as artwork or jewelry designs.