Irish tattoo designs are a very personal experience. For many people, it is the ultimate Irish expression - an unmistakable sign of your connection with Irish / Celtic culture and heritage.
Irish tattoos, and their typically Celtic designs are popular for several reasons. The most common reason is to show pride in your Celtic heritage.
Another reason is - these designs are just very cool to look at, and tells stories about.
There are many places to get examples of great tattoo designs. What we want to do here is introduce you to the basics, then point you in the right direction to find your ultimate design.
The most common Irish tattoo designs generally fall into one of four categories: crosses, knots, shamrocks and tree of life designs.
When my son turned 17, he informed me that on his 18th birthday he would be getting a tattoo.
I am not a tattoo guy. So my response was - "Oh yeah? Who's going to pay for it?"
Oh. End of story. Mic drop.
Well, not quite. Over the coming year, he gradually convinced me that his chosen design - a tree of life image over his heart - was actually a very personal and meaningful way for him to express his love of Ireland.
Ok, I surrender! Here's what finally happened...
Pretty great, I have to admit.
The best way to choose a tattoo design is to ask yourself - what do I care about? What do I like to talk to other people about? What part of who I am, am I the most proud of?
Then, find a design you really like that represents those things.
There are lots of guidelines to keep in mind as far as colors, design complexity, location on the body, how to find a tattoo artist, etc.
We'll leave those things to the experts (and the book we mentioned above).
What we want to do is tell you about four cool types of Irish tattoo designs.
This classic symbol of Ireland is shaped like a traditional Christian crucifix, with the addition of a circle around the intersection, symbolizing eternity.
It is typically decorated with symbols or scenes of various biblical events, and it is found in a variety of Irish expressions today, including art, tattoos and jewelry.
Visit our section on the Irish Cross for much more information about this symbol that is such an important part of Irish culture and tradition.
Sometimes called "Irish knots" or "Mystic knots," Celtic knots are patterns of lines with no visible beginning and no apparent ending.
Aside from being lovely, they are
said to have important meanings, which you can learn more about in other
As with many symbols of Ireland they appear on everything from clothing to tableware to jewelry to body art.
Finally, a few words about the world-famous Irish Shamrock.
Rumored to have the power to ward off evil spirits, scare away snakes and heal diseases, this little symbol packs a mighty punch.
So much so that at one time it was banned from public display by the Queen of England. I know, crazy right?
If that simple little description leaves you wanting more, please check out our section on the Shamrock symbol here!
The Tree of Life represents a number of Irish values with Celtic roots.
Among these are strength, longevity and connection with the earth.
As with many Irish symbols the Celtic Tree of Life appears in many legends and myths.
It also adorns Irish jewerly, clothing, and other Irish works of art.
To really understand Irish tattoo designs, you need to understand Irish symbols, what they are, where they come from, what they mean.
We just talked about the four most common designs. But really, we're just scratching the surface. What about a Celtic Harp? Or Triquetra? Or a pot of gold?
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