Lynda's story describes what the Claddagh ring means to her as a second generation Irish woman.
It’s a sign, a symbol of belonging that the trained eye can spot a mile away. The claddagh is in an area of Galway where jewellers fashioned this traditional ring: two hands holding a heart symbolising friendship and love, topped by a crown for loyalty. All my family are Irish, my sister and I and most of our cousins are the first generation to be born over here. Without a phone let alone a computer, my mum and dad seem to have very little contact with their parents. Yet every year through the post would come a box of shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day and perhaps a new badge to wear for mass and every few years a new claddagh. I cant remember getting my first one and don’t know what happened to the ones in between but over the years a graduated through little silver ones for tiny fingers up to the grown up gold one I wear now. There’s a strong bond within the Irish community, everyone knows everyone. But the thing about the claddagh is that you make an immediate link with people you don’t know. You catch sight of the ring; share a knowing look, in your link to a stranger without a word being spoken. They say that if you’re single you should wear the heart facing outwards open to finding your soul mate. I’ve always worn mine facing in, not standing in the way of true love but so that I get to see it from its best angle. Although the rings more often seen on women, I’ve always loved the fact that Irish men wear them too. Big strong men who would never otherwise wear jewellery will sport their claddagh with pride. You’ll see some big ones though; some of those men have hands like spades. As a British girl who called somewhere else home, I always felt a bit different to friends and neighbours. The claddagh’s my way of showing membership to a tribe you might not otherwise know I belong to.
Train the trainer at Ashby-de-la-Zouch Museum
A group of museum and heritage professionals from across the Midlands came together for a three day training session at Ashby Museum, learning how to run digital storytelling workshops. Each person made their own digital story.