Triskele – From the Greek meaning ‘three-legged’

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.

Triple spiral symbol

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.

Newgrange kerbstone copyright Locutus Borg cc3
Newgrange kerbstone

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.

Wappen Fussen coat of arms.
Wappen Fussen coat of arms.

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.

See the Claddagh Ring design on numerous gifts in Bealtaine Fire

Shamrock – national flower of Ireland

Irish Symbols – each with their own fascinating origins and still relevant today

Celtic jewelry – symbols of love and friendship

Celtic festivals

Celtic Cross

Brigid’s Cross

How Ireland protects its harp and shamrock emblems…take care if using them

Why the Guinness harp faces the opposite way to the official Irish harp

Yule – ancient festival pre-dating Christmas

Easter Lily – sign of peace and hope for the future

St Patrick myths and legends

Irish Art – clues to ancient Irish cultures and beliefs

The Green Man – symbol of rebirth

The Awen (The Three Rays of Light)

Celtic Tree of Life (Crann Bethadh)

Triskele – From the Greek meaning ‘three-legged’

Celtic Cross – symbol of faith and culture

Celebrating the rich diversity of Irish culture

Irish Art – pre-dating the Pyramids

Celtic Cross jewelry – steeped in history and symbolism

Ēostre – the Spring Equinox – forerunner of Easter

Beltane – festival of fire to welcome the summer

New age beliefs about Ogham

The Spiral – thought to represent the sun

Brigid’s Cross (Brighid’s Cross, St Brigit’s Cross)