Urns for Ashes – Irish Celtic Symbol Engravings

Irish culture is replete with symbols which are rich in history and deep in meaning. From symbols which date back to the times of the ancient Celts to more recent symbols which have a firm place in modern Irish society, symbolism is integral to our heritage and customs.

The urns for ashes in our collection feature a number of designs directly inspired by Celtic and Irish symbolism. These symbols say so much about the Irish identity and the Irish experience, which makes them a fitting tribute to anyone who had a connection to the Emerald Isle.

We have compiled a list of some of the most significant Irish and Celtic symbols, detailing their meaning and background. Our lovingly handcrafted cremation urns are made all the more beautiful and poignant with these gorgeous Irish symbols. Perhaps you will discover a symbol that best represents a loved one of yours.

Tri Spiral Symbol (Triskele)

Irish Urn close up of trispiral as potter finishes off detailing - Urns for ashes

Our exquisite array of urns for ashes can be made all the more striking and significant by this extraordinary symbol. The triple spiral (or triskele) is an extremely famous and popular Celtic symbol with a number of meanings. It is an ancient, arcane symbol and can even be seen at the entrance of Newgrange, a prehistoric Irish monument in Co. Meath.

Some see it as a symbol of eternity, with the past, present and future in constant rotation. Others see it as a symbol of the circle of life, an incessant flow of birth, death and rebirth. Perhaps the most Irish interpretation, however, is that of the Holy Trinity: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Whatever meaning you derive from this archaic symbol, whether it be related to the passage of time, the cycle of life or Irish religion, it is the perfect decoration for an urn for human ashes. Simple and elegant in appearance, but rich and complex in meaning, this symbol’s multiple meanings are a wonderful way to commemorate a life.

One of our cremation urns which bears this symbol is the Irish Celt Cremation Urn, which is pictured below in Cobalt.

Blue celt urn on stand - Irish Celt Cremation Urn - Urns for ashes
Irish Celt Cremation Urn in Cobalt with Tri-Spiral Design.

Double Spiral Symbol

double spiral

The double spiral is another Celtic symbol which holds a variety of potent and profound meanings. It can be found engraved on ancient Celtic tombs, graves and monuments all throughout Ireland.

It is seen as a representation of the balance between two opposing but inextricably linked forces, such as life and death, light and dark, day and night, creation and destruction. All of these forces are integral to life and must exist in perfect balance with the other.

It is also interpreted as a symbol of spirituality or a spiritual awakening. The two spirals act as the spiritual world and the physical world coexisting, occurring side-by-side. Some even see the double spiral as a symbol of the passing of the seasons, with the large spiral representing the bigger, warmer summer sun and the other spiral representing the smaller, colder winter sun.

Ultimately, the double spiral represents two entities, perhaps opposites, but connected together and dependent on each other for all time. It is easy to see why this particular symbol would be so meaningful to have engraved on cremation urns, especially when it is so rich in Irish history and heritage.

The double spiral can be found on many of our urns for ashes, including our Torc Celtic Cremation Urn, pictured below in Seaholly.

Torc Urn from ireland - urns for ashes
Torc Celtic Cremation Urn with Double Spiral symbol

Tree of Life Symbol

The Tree of Life has a special place in Irish history and Celtic symbolism. The ancient Celts considered trees to be sacred and believed that they had mystical powers. The Celts believed that trees held the spirits of their ancestors and served as a gateway between this world and the next.

The Tree of Life was symbolic of all the forces of nature intertwining to create peace, harmony and balance in the world. This is represented in the Celtic knots used to illustrate the branches and roots which mirror each other. Their symmetry shows how all living things are bound together, relying on one another in order to thrive. The entwined branches and roots, one reaching up to the sky, the other burrowing down into the ground, serve as a symbol of the relationship between heaven and earth, mind and body, the spiritual and the physical.

The ancient Celts believed that the Gods used trees as a way of communicating with them, so it makes perfect sense that the Tree of Life symbolises the connection between life and the afterlife. The intricate Celtic knots used in the symbol also emphasise how the Tree of Life is eternal and everlasting, the process of life and death forever circulating without beginning or end.

The Tree of Life is depicted as an Oak tree, one of the native trees of Ireland. This is because the Oak tree was the largest of all the trees in Ireland and was associated with strength, wisdom and longevity. The Celtic word for Oak is daur, which serves as the origins of the word door. This once again reinforces the idea of trees as a doorway between our world and the spiritual world.

Due to its symbolic and historic significance, the Tree of Life is a particularly poignant symbol for urns for ashes, especially for those with Irish heritage.

You can find this ancient Celtic symbol on our beautifully crafted Tree of Life Cremation Urn for Ashes, which comes in green, yellow and blue.

blue ceramic tree of life urn in blue - urns for ashes
Tree of Life Cremation Urn in Blue

Bean na h-Éireann Symbol

urns for ashes

The harp is one of the most renowned and instantly recognisable Irish symbols. It has served as the coat of arms of Ireland since as early as the 13th century. While it may not be as popular worldwide as the Irish shamrock, it is the official emblem of Ireland and can be found on the Irish presidential seal, Irish coins and Irish passports.

The Bean na h-Éireann (Women of Ireland) symbol incorporates the harp symbol with the body of a woman to act as a tribute to Irish women and the significant role they have played throughout Irish history. It is a symbol of the fight and struggle of Irish women for their rights and freedom. From the right to vote, the right to work and the right to choose, women’s liberty has come a long way in Irish society.

The harp is considered a symbol of grace, elegance, strength and beauty, and this is why it has now also become a symbol for Irish women everywhere and the Irish female identity. The beautiful blending of the Celtic harp and the classical female form is an especially powerful and meaningful symbol.

The Bean na h-Éireann symbol, seen as a celebration of the women of Ireland, is the prefect design to feature on urns for human ashes which are intended for an Irish woman. Whether she be your mother, sister, daughter or aunt, there is no better tribute to a woman who had Celtic blood in her veins.

You can read more about our Bean na n-Éireann Cremation Urn for Ashes here. It comes in Lough Blue, Gorse Yellow and Fern Green.

Bean na heireann Urn - Urns for Ashes
Bean na h-Éireann Cremation Urn for Ashes

Claddagh Ring Symbol

urns for ashes

The Claddagh ring is one of the most iconic Irish symbols in the world. Its unique and memorable design has made it a feature of several Irish love stories since its creation. The Claddagh ring can be used as both a friendship ring and a wedding or engagement ring, though it is more commonly used as the latter.

While no one knows for certain, it is widely believed that the ring originated in Galway, many centuries ago, in the small fishing village of Claddagh. The ring is positively steeped in myth and legend, with countless folktales offering an origin story for the famed piece of jewellery.

The Claddagh ring design is comprised of two hands clasping a heart which is wearing a crown. Each of the three elements contains its own separate meaning. The hands symbolise steadfast friendship, the heart symbolises true love and the crown symbolises undying loyalty.

The Claddagh ring is ultimately a symbol of love, loyalty and friendship and is often accompanied by an old Irish expression: “With these hands, I give you my heart and crown it with my love.Another saying frequently associated with the ring is “Let love and friendship reign”.

In old times, the Claddagh ring was worn to convey a person’s relationship status. If the ring was worn on the left hand with the heart pointing inwards, a person was married. But if it was worn on the left hand with the heart pointing outward, a person was engaged. Likewise, if the ring was worn on the right hand with the heart pointing inward, a person was in a relationship but if it the heart was pointing outward, they were single.

The Claddagh ring is one of the most eminent symbols of Irish culture and is seen as an emblem or token of the Irish identity. Couple this with its association of love and friendship, and the Claddagh ring is the ideal symbol for urns for ashes which will hold the remains of those who are deeply proud of their Irish roots.

You can read more about our Cairlinn Claddagh Cremation Urn for Ashes here.

urns for ashes
Cremation Urn for Ashes with Claddagh Ring Design

To browse our full collection of cremation urns, some with more Celtic symbols and some without, please click here.

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