Irish art has been influenced by the many countries located nearby the Emerald Isle. Marauders of Celtic, Norman, Roman and Saxon ethnicity not only invaded Ireland, but traded goods. It is these outside influences that shaped much of what we think of as Irish design today. This includes intricately threaded knots, the Celtic cross, and intertwined, one-dimensional animals. The ancient religion of the island was based on nature and plants, trees, and animals, all of which are regarded as mystical icons amongst which the little people and sprites frolicked.
Photo by “cwalker71″ on Flickr
Today we often think of iconic symbols of Ireland being the claddagh, shamrocks, and the impish leprechaun. Fans of Notre Dame often choose a leprechaun with raised fists as a representation of their beloved Fighting Irish. Even people who have no true Irish heritage often opt for Celtic style tattoo because they are simple and beautiful designs.
Photo by “Drew Coffman” on Flickr
Irish tattoos can be either whimsical and magical, or use the traditional, scrolling designs, knots, and crosses. Sometimes both types of art are combined in one tattoo with shamrocks woven into scrollwork or a leprechaun hiding amongst a stylized band of shamrocks. The luck of the Irish can be depicted with the addition of a horseshoe, or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Photo by “ChiBart” on Flickr
Many men opt to place an Irish tattoo on their arm – especially if it symbolizes the Notre Dame football team. Shamrocks and Celtic designs can really go anywhere on the body – from tiny spots like the ankle or wrist, to the broad canvas of a back and shoulders. Any of these tattoos is appropriate for either a man or woman.
Irish tattoos will always be popular with a wide range of people, Irish or not.