One of the most ancient of Irish symbols, the triskele (or Triskelion) can be found on the kerbstones of Newgrange which date back to Neolithic times around 3200 BC.
They also appear on coins and pottery from Ancient Greece. The triskele is the symbol of Sicily, which in ancient times, used to be a Greek colony.
The Celts liked the symbol
The triskele is pre-Celtic in design, dating back to before the Celts settled in Ireland, but it was incorporated into Celtic culture and frequently appears in Celtic artwork. The symbol is thought to represent continuous movement or continuously moving forward.
The fact that the triskele consists of three spirals, or sometimes three legs, adheres to the Celtic belief in the triad, that everything happens in threes; past, present, future: mother, father, child; body, mind, spirit.
Christians adopted the Triskele
This would have made it fascinating to the Celts and easy to adopt into their culture.
Similarly, when the Christian church came to Ireland during the 5th century, they also adopted the triskele symbol using it as a tool for teaching the Holy Trinity.
Variations of this symbol can be found on the national flags of The Isle of Man, Brittany and Sicily and on the coat of arms of Füssen in Germany. It is the basis for the badge of the Irish Air Corps and appears on the US Department of Transportation logo.
The wonderfully ornate illustrations and calligraphy in the Book of Kells has inspired artists for centuries and is still highly influential today. It’s now possible to have your name written in the style of the Book of Kells with ornate initial letters and calligraphy that are direct replicas of work created by the monks more than a thousand years ago.
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