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50+ of the Best Irish Tattoos Ideas and Designs that aren’t Just for the Irish

By Jason Hamilton / November 2, 2020
celtic cross tattoo women
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The Irish have some of the biggest contributions in the world of tattoo. And even today, many of their symbols and tattoo designs are well-recognized around the world. What’s even more impressive about their contribution is that the best Irish tattoos ideas and designs aren’t just made to show the pride of being an Irish or their love for their country. But each symbol has more meanings to it. On top of that, they are very versatile too. You can design them however you want or pair them with other non-Irish tattoos.

There are actually five of the best Irish tattoos ideas and designs: shamrock, Celtic knot, Celtic cross, the Celtic tree of life, and the Claddagh. Aside from their aesthetics, each of them boasts of nice meanings and representations.


The Shamrock

The shamrock, or the unique three-leaf clover, is one of the Irish’s (unofficial) symbols for their country. In fact, they associate it with Saint Patrick. Many use it to symbolize their heritage. However, the shamrock isn’t only for this. Apparently, people also use it to attract good luck. This is because it is not common to see a shamrock in a sea of four-leaf clovers. Hence, when one sees it, they consider them to be the lucky ones.


A lot of people confuse it with the four-leaf clover, though. Just remember to count the leaves. The shamrock has three while the four-leaf clover, well, has four.

And because of its unique number of leaves, people also associate it with the Holy trinity. This is because the legend says Saint Patrick, the man credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland, used the three-leaf clover as a symbol to represent the Holy trinity when explaining it to the pagan Irish.


That said, even if you’re not an Irish, you can still use the shamrock tattoo because it’s not just for the representation of being an Irish. It is also a symbol of good luck and even your faith.

A traditional tattoo of a shamrock with word tattoo that reads “Irish Pride”


A realistic shamrock tattoo on the chest

A unique shamrock made with hearts and knots situated near the heel


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An outline watercolor tattoo of a shamrock with hints of the colors of the Irish flag

A dark green wrist tattoo of a shamrock placed on the left wrist


A shamrock tattoo filled with Polynesian symbols placed on the left rib area

A minimalist shamrock tattoo etched on the left wrist

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A small shamrock tattoo in dark green ink placed on the right foot


A shamrock paired with a quote tattoo situated on the right forearm

A combination tattoo of musical notes, infinity, vines, and shamrocks on the back area

Celtic Knot

We don’t want to burst your bubble but apparently, the Roman Empire isn’t the only one who made use of interlace patterns. The Celts did it as well. In fact, it was widely-used that it was exported to Europe all thanks to the Irish and Northumbrian monastic activities.

And even in modern times, Celtic art is still popular, especially in the world of tattoo. This is probably also because of its aesthetics, as well as the meanings that it holds.

For starters, Celtic knots have complete loops. They neither have a start nor finish. Hence, people see them as a representation of eternity whether it means faith, loyalty, love, or friendship. When drawing it, only one thread is used in each design to symbolize how eternity and life are interconnected.


A snake shaped like a Celtic knot tattooed on the right leg

A jaw-dropping 3D armor tattoo with a Celtic knot on the shoulder cap


Matching friendship tattoo of Celtic knot placed on the wrist


A huge Celtic knot placed on the upper back area

A Celtic knot tattoo that looks like a combination of heart and triangle tattoos


Another Celtic knot tattoo that resembles heart and triangle shapes in black and red ink

A unique Celtic knot that looks like a combination of infinity and heart symbols

A Celtic knot tattoo in black, gold, blue, and red ink

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A watercolor Celtic knot tattoo placed on the left forearm to honor her father

A simple Celtic knot tattooed on the calf

Celtic Cross

And since we’re already talking about Celtic knots, it is hard not to miss the Celtic cross. This kind of cross actually resembles the kind of cross that Christians are used to. However, the Celtic cross features a nimbus or a ring. In the world of tattoo, the Celtic cross tattoo is often made of Celtic knots too.

This symbol is also significant in the Irish culture. As the legend says, St. Patrick was the one who introduced it to the Irish pagans when he was converting them to Christians. Not only that; this cross can also symbolize your faith as this represents the meeting place of Divine energies. It also serves as a symbolic compass for those who are in need of spiritual navigation.


A memorial Celtic cross tattoo with a name of the loved one


A Celtic cross filled with Celtic knots in black and green ink

A Celtic cross paired with a four-leaf clover and Celtic knots

A blackwork Celtic tattoo etched on the calf

A Celtic cross overlapping a map

A Celtic cross that looks like it’s peaking from the skin

Another 3D Celtic cross but with blackwork details

A forearm tattoo of a Celtic cross with a text that reads “Thy will be done”

A Celtic cross paired with a green dragon tattoo

A Celtic cross purely made of Celtic knots in black, blue, and green ink

Celtic Tree of Life

By now, you’re probably familiar with the tree of life tattoo and its meaning. But have you heard about the Celtic tree of life? Basically, it’s just like the tree of life. However, it has Celtic knots. And this symbolizes strength, wisdom, and long life. It is also associated with rebirth as the trees lose their leaves, hibernate, and reborn again. The Celts also believed that trees acted as a doorway into the spirit world.

People also believe that the tree of life connects the lower and upper worlds. This is because the roots grow far down while its branches grow upwards. But with the evolution in the world of tattoo and also as a result of people’s creativity, people sometimes just go for tree tattoos made with Celtic knots.

A Celtic tree of life paired with a Celtic armband tattoo on the left arm

A half-sleeve Celtic tree of life

An intricately detailed Celtic tree of life placed on the arm

Another detailed tattoo of a Celtic tree of life in black and brown ink

A small Celtic tree of life tattooed on the back

A Celtic tree of life tattoo placed on the arm

A unique Celtic tree of life tattoo with swirled green branches

Another unique colored Celtic tree of life etched on the right arm

A well-shaded (no pun intended) Celtic tree of life tattoo placed on the right chest area

A blackwork Celtic tree of life tattooed on the upper part of the back


The Claddagh is also a popular symbol in the world of tattoo. And you might not know it but it is actually one of the best Irish tattoos ideas and designs that many people go for. Basically it is a combination of a crown, heart, and hands tattoo. But this symbol is more significant than what many of us think. People actually see it as a symbol of love. Hence, aside from using them as a tattoo, Irish people also use it as a traditional engagement and wedding ring.

But this symbol isn’t all about romantic love. People also use it to symbolize their loyalty, and friendship; the crown symbolizes loyalty and the hands are for friendship.

A Celtic cross paired with a Claddagh etched on the uppermost right part of the back

A Claddagh in black ink tattoed on the forearm

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A forearm Claddagh tattoo with a realistic gem heart and lace details

A combination of some of the popular Irish symbols: the Claddagh, shamrock, and Celtic knots placed on the right rib area

A colorful Claddagh tattoo paired with other symbols like clouds, sea, and trees

A realistic Claddagh tattoo mimicking the hands of the owner placed on the chest

A nice colored Claddagh tattoo placed on the left arm

A traditional tattoo of a Claddagh paired with shamrocks

A Claddagh tattoo with a unique crown placed on the left wrist

A Claddagh tattoo paired with Celtic knots

The best Irish tattoos ideas and designs are still gaining a lot of attention in the world of body art. We can’t blame anyone, though, as it’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing and significant.


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About the author

Jason Hamilton

Jason has been an avid fan of tattoos for over 13 years now. He is currently 35 years old, and he got his first tattoo at the age of 22. Since then, he has added over 20 tattoos to his collection. He is also into writing, which is why he decided to celebrate both of his passion and hobby through tats ‘n’ rings. Jason dreams of having his very own tattoo parlor soon. Jason would be very happy to answer any questions about tattoos that you may have! Leave a comment below and he’ll answer it for you right away!

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