Irish and Celtic tattoos are loved by many people, even those not of Irish descent. From eternity knots to Celtic dragons, Irish tattoos are full of symbolism, pride and heritage.
The Celtic Cross is one of the most common Irish tattoos. This unique cross design features a thick-barred cross with a circle behind its upper portion. Interpretations of the significance of the circle vary, ranging from Christian ideas of eternity to Pagan worship of the sun.
The tribal tattoo is another frequently seen tattoo that has its roots in Irish history. While not all tribal designs are Celtic in origin, some are coming from the Picts (late Iron Age and early Medieval Celtic people) and some from pagan customs.
Celtic knots are decorative knots that intertwine in a pattern. They are drawn to represent a continuous, unbroken loop. In a tattoo they can take many shapes, from the knot on its own to knots used within other images for embellishment.
One common combination is to include knotwork within another Celtic or Irish design, such as the cross. Tattoo artists can incorporate elements of the Celtic knot to fill in the outline of the cross.
Give yourself the luck of the Irish with a four-leaf clover. This tattoo design can be as large or as small as you want it, so it can be worn anywhere.
The Claddagh comes from the Claddagh ring, a piece of jewelry that can be used to represent both friendship and love. The design shows two hands holding a heart topped by a crown. These images are meant to symbolize love, friendship and loyalty.
Using a Celtic knot inside a circle helps to strengthen the idea of eternity or something that never ends.
Some people seek a Celtic runes tat. However, runes as they are typically thought of were not actually used by the Celts. This doesn't mean you can't still enjoy inking yourself with this distinctive alphabet, but if you want to celebrate your Irish heritage, you may want to choose another design.
Celtic dragon tattoos can be similar to Western dragons, with the addition of some knotwork added, or the dragon itself can be the knot like this design.
Learn more about Celtic tattoos.