Monday, March 1, 2010

Welcome to Sharon Donovan's guest blog



A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to visit Ireland, the home of my ancestry. The Emerald Isle is truly an enchanted land, full of legend and lore. Whimsical castles loom high above heathery mountains and rocky headlands, giving way to rolling green hills and miles of coppery beaches. And with the sheep grazing high on misty hillsides, it’s like stepping back in time to another era when life was much simpler.


A lot of writers come from Ireland, including James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wild. With its green hills and rugged landscape, major movies have been filled on the island. The Irish take great pride in pointing out the farmhouse on the Dingle Peninsula where Ryan’s Daughter was filmed. Inch Strand Beach, shaped like a sandy half moon, is one of the most remote parts of Ireland. But the best part of the trip was learning the legend of The Claddagh Ring, which has a rich history dating back three hundred years.

According to legend, the first Claddagh Ring originated in a small fishing port off the coast of Galway. Truly a land of legend and lore, the Irish are known to spin a wee bit of the blarney from time to time. Some say the ring was blessed by St. Patrick himself. Others believe the ring was dropped into the lap of a woman by an eagle. And others say the original Claddagh was brought to Galway by a man who was captured by the Algerians and sold to a Moorish goldsmith. But whatever the case, the legend of the Claddagh has lived for the past several centuries. And in today’s material world where love and marriage are taken far too lightly, the legend strengthens relationships. The wearer of the Claddagh is said to be blessed with love, friendship and loyalty forevermore.

But in order for the Claddagh to cast its mystical spell, the Claddagh must be worn a certain way. The design consists of two hands holding a heart with a crown on top of the heart. The hands represent friendship, the heart is for love, and the crown is for loyalty. If the ring is worn on the right hand with the heart facing outward, the wearer is looking for love. If worn on the left hand with the heart facing outward, the wearer has found love. But when worn on the left hand with the heart facing inward, the wearer has found its soulmate for life and will be forever blessed.

Being Irish and awed by the legend, I was inspired to write The Claddagh Ring. And while touring the Atlantic Breakers and the Cliffs of Moher, part of my book takes place in County Clare. The Breakers pound the west coast of the county, sculpting the grey limestone into a myriad of shapes, the most notorious, the Cliffs of Moher A rich plethora of birdlife as puffins and shags crest on the cliffs, adding to the savage grandeur. Beneath the rocks, the waves have spread a thin dusting of golden sand, said to be sprinkled by angel wings. Standing on these cliffs with the wind on my back and the sun on my face, I was inspired to write The Claddagh Ring. Here is a blurb and excerpt:

“To live in the hearts we leave behind is to never die.” Thomas Campbell

Struggling with her faith after her mother’s death, Meghan O’Malley finds comfort
in wearing her Claddagh Ring, said to be blessed by St. Patrick. And when Meghan
meets Rork, she finds love, loyalty and friendship. But before everything comes full
circle, Meghan must face the biggest challenge of her life.
Rork McGuire is ruggedly handsome, sings Celtic music straight from his soul—and
has a deep secret. When he sees Meghan O’Malley tending bar at her club, he falls
hopelessly in love with her and wants to give her his heart. Will the secret he harbors pull them together—or break them apart?

Excerpt
As Meghan mixed drinks from behind the bar of The Wild Irish Rose, the fiddle and
violin captured the true essence of Ireland. The tantalizing aroma of Irish stew,
corn beef and cabbage and soda bread wafted through the room.
Suddenly, all activity came to a halt as the eerie wail of bagpipes keened through
the bar. The lead singer took center stage with his rendition of Danny Boy, the haunting lyrics crawling into Meghan’s skin. Mesmerized by his hypnotic blue eyes, she stopped what she was doing and met his penetrating gaze. With the exception of her mother, she’d never heard anyone pluck the strings of the harp with such finesse. The Claddagh Ring on her right hand felt hot, the heart pressing into her skin. By the time the song ended, Meghan’s green eyes were misty with tears.
“Well now, darlin’,” he touched her cheek. “If I knew Danny Boy would make you cry,
I’d a sung When Irish Eyes are Smiling.” Meghan Shannon O’Malley lost herself in pools of midnight blue. “I’m Rork,” the corners of his eyes crinkled when he smiled. He took her right hand and kissed the heart on her ring. “Single and looking, are ya?” “Huh?” “The Claddagh Ring, darlin’,” he kissed it again. “On your right hand with the heart facing outward, means you’re single and looking for romance.”
“Ah…I have no idea what you’re talking about; it’s just a ring, a gift from my mother.” “Ah, come on now, darlin’ girl,” he got a little closer, staring into her eyes. “Ya can’t fool an Irishman. My mother bought one for each of my sisters. I’ll have ya know they’re all married.” Meghan felt lightheaded. “My mother gave me this ring the night before she died. It’s a family heirloom, said to be blessed by St. Patrick himself. Mama promised me by wearing the Claddagh, everything in my life would come full circle. So before you go thinking I’m wearing it to find a husband, think again.” “Do you believe in love at first sight?” his blue eyes seared into hers like lasers. “What do ya say, Meghan, darlin’ girl of my heart.”

The Claddagh Ring Available Now!

To see the book trailer, visit my website

CONTEST: To win a pdf copy of "THE CLADDAGH RING" answer the following question: Do you have a favorite legend?

24 comments:

Sharon Donovan said...

Hello! I'd like to thank Danny and The Love Romance and More for having me guest blog with them today. I hope you enjoy reading about the legend behind the Claddagh, and don't forget to tell me your favorite legend for a chance to win a pdf of the book. The Claddagh Ring can be purchased at
Wite Rose Publishing

Thanks for stopping by!

Hywela Lyn said...

What a fascinating post, Sharon, and what beautiful pictures. You know I feel exactly the same way about my native Wales, and the scenery is very similar - unspoilt mountains and seascapes!

So interesting to learn more about the claddagh ring, and I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a sweet, inspirational read with a touch of mystery. It's a beautiful story.

Anonymous said...

The Lady of the Lake is my favorite legend. It always grabs me up and pulls me in.

P.L. Parker said...

Great post, never knew what a Claddagh Ring was so very interesting to me. Anything that deals with vampires and werewolves tends to be a favorite legend of mine. Have a good day.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Lyn, thanks for your sweet words about my book! The Claddagh is so mystical, I think, with a legend dating back several centuries. This book was one of those books that just needed to be written, so full of magic and hope.

Barbara Edwards said...

What a lovely legend. Ireland is like the heart of the world with its strong beliefs.
I have to check back for others.

Dawn said...

Hi Sharon,

I have to say I never knew the legend behind the Claddagh Ring and since my SO got me one last Valentine's day (instead of hands he had trinity knot on the sides), it means so much more to me. :)

Thanks for this wonderful post. Being a wee bit of Irish myself, it is always a pleasure to read about the wonderful legends there.

Favorite Legend: Did King Arthur really exist and will he come back? Fascinating and a bit mystical. *grins*

Dawn
Senior Reviewer-LRC

Linda Swift said...

Hi Sharon. What a lovely story and the photos were beautiful. I loved this excerpt, so filled with love at first site emotion. I have Irish, Scottish, Welch, and English ancestry so I'm always interested in this subject.
I don't know if this counts as a legend, but reading about the Claddagh Ring reminded me of it. It is said that if a girl holds a mirror up and looks through it at the depths of a well, she will see the image of the man she will marry. Yes, I tried it more than once but I never saw him. We did marry on St. Patrick's Day and I've wanted to spend an anniversary there but never have. In fact, I've visited the other three countries but not Ireland. I wish you continued success with all your books.

Kathleen said...

I'm very Irish so loved this post and excerpt.

Sharon Donovan said...

The Lady of the Lake is a legend I'm not familiar with. Can you tell me about it. I collect legends and this one sounds rather intriguing. Thanks,
Sharon

Miss Mae said...

Never heard about the Claddagh Ring, but since I stay slaved behind my computer, I really don't get out much! LOL

Beautiful descriptions of Ireland, Sharon, and I'd really love to see the landscape. My mother was Irish, her family even has a coat of arms. Don't have a clue if that means anything, but I think it's pretty cool. :)

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Patsy, glad to clue you in on the legend behind the Claddagh. Vamps and werewolves? So are you hoping to lore them in or keep them away ? LOL I'm a real sucker for legends, lore and superstitions. I adore the mystical and it makes for great themes in a story.
Sharon

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Barbara,
Beautiful words, Ireland is indeed the heart of the world. It's so mystical and full of dreams. Sigh

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Dawn, oh the wee Irish gets us in trouble every time. LOL I have so many superstitions it isn't even funny. My favorite is the legend behind the writer. If you wear the pink tourmaline stone, your work will always get published. I have a ring and bracelet and of course a Claddagh! King Arthur? Hmm? It's all in the imagination, a writers' best tool. And like dreams, anything is possible. Here's hoping!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Linda, I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt and pictures. Ireland is like stepping back into another century with all the whimsical castles and sheep grazing and the lyrical setting. You must visit one day. I have Welsh, Irish and Scotch in me, but no English. What lovely memories they must be. And a St. Patrick's Day anniversary, what a double celebration! I have heard the one about the mirror and also the one similar, about looking into a moonlit pond at midnight. It's all in the heart of the believer and the eye of the beholder!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Kathleen, and you have the beautiful Irish name to prove it. But are you superstitious? With a name like that, you must be a wee bit!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hey Miss Mae! Oh, wow, now I am impressed. A coat of arms! I'd post that all over my website, girl! And I'm so pleased to be the one to clue you in on the Claddagh legend. Ireland is whimsical and full of legend and lore, a writer's haven. Hmm. But a coat of arms, that is something. Should I curtsey?

Laurean Brooks said...

Hi Sharon,

Don't you just love anything to do with Ireland? My ancestors came from there, too. Wonderful excerpt, beautiful writing. But what else could you expect from the gifted Sharon Donovan?

The Legend of the Dogwood is the one that comes to my mind, since Easter is almost upon us. The white petals represent purity. I beleve the blossom has five petals to represent Christ's head and four limbs as he was stretched on the cross. The pinky-brown stains spreading from the center are tokens of the blood he shed for us.

Hugs,
Laurie

Mary Ricksen said...

Great blog sweetie, as usual!
You are fabulous!!!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Laurie, oh, aren't you sweet! Go on! I also love the dogwood, and recall a poem about it with the prettiest words. Do you remember it? Very nice legend, and a great one for Easter and spring.

Sharon Donovan said...

Mary, you are too kind! And I know you have lots of legends running about in your wee self. Thanks for your inspiring words.

susan said...

I had a ring like this years ago and loved it. This book sound good and it's in one of my favorite places. susan L.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Susan, I agree. The Claddagh ring is lovely, and Ireland is one of my favorite places, too. Thanks for commenting.

Sharon Donovan said...

What fun this has been. I would like to thank Danny, Dawn and everyone at Love Romance for having me as their guest. As always, choosing a winner was difficult. So, after putting all names in a basket and choosing one at ramdam, the winner is...Kathleen. Congratulations! Please contact me at
sharonad@comcast.net
May the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.

Sharon D