Irish-inspired tattoos come in a wide range of styles, drawing inspiration from a variety of historical or modern imagery associated with Ireland.
This can include anything from ancient world-inspired designs, incorporating Celtic symbols, through to contemporary pieces, based on modern-day cultural icons associated with the country, such as shamrocks or a pint of Guinness.
The Irish flag, and its vibrant colours of green, white and orange, are frequently included in Irish-inspired tattoos. The Irish tricolour is symbolic and is meant to represent peace between Catholics, represented by green, and protestants, who are represented by orange.
Catholicism has almost always played an important role in Irish society, so naturally, Catholic themes are often used in Irish tattoo designs too.
Embracing Ireland’s historical roots, Celtic designs are also popular as Irish-themed tattoos. Their intricate line-work and iconic Celtic-Christian symbolism, most famously the Celtic Cross, make for eye-catching pieces.
The Celts are also the origin of the harp design (possibly most famously used by Guinness). The harp was a popular instrument during Celtic times and is said to have reflected the immortality of the soul.
Irish Gaelic phrases often appear in Irish tattoo designs – or as standalone tattoos. From thought-provoking proverbs to simple words and phrases, Gaelic wording, often presented in a Celtic font, creates an authentic reflection of Irish heritage.
The leprechaun, a staple of irish legends and movies alike. The legend goes if you follow a rainbow you’ll find a leprechauns pot of gold at the end of it.
As well as this, the Claddagh is a much-loved Irish symbol that features heavily in Irish tattoos. The Claddagh is a heart, surrounded by hands and topped with a crown. These three components represent friendship (hands), love (heart) and loyalty (crown). The design is said to have originated in the 1700s when a silversmith made the fist Claddagh ring.
However, arguably the most instantly recognisable Irish symbol is, of course, the Shamrock. The four leaf shamrock in modern times represents luck. However, the three-leaf is more significant in Irish heritage, as it is said that Saint Patrick used this type of shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish pagans, in his efforts to bring Christianity to the country.
And on that note, here are 10 of our Top Irish Tattoos for St. Patrick’s Day.