Celtic Christmas Decorations: Ireland

by JoHarrington

Do you or your ancestors hail from the Emerald Isle? Then add a little nod to your Celtic heritage on your Christmas tree this year. Check out these Irish Yule ornaments.

The Irish diaspora meant that there are Gaelic people all over the world now. Remembering your roots at Christmas is easy with decorations recalling them.

From shamrocks to Claddagh, there are ornaments to delight most tastes, from the classy through to the slightly cheesy. I've endeavored to provide a little background information where I can.

If you have any love for Ireland, then you will adore these Christmas ornaments. Come and see.

Enya Sings Oíche Chiúin

That's 'Silent Night' in Irish Gaelic by the way, just to get us in the right festive mood.

Carved Woodcut Style Irish Snowman Figurine

Inspired by the colors and art of old Erin, this Irish snowman looks like carved wood. But it's not.

The Celtic Charm Irish Snowman Christmas Figure was crafted out of stone and resin.  For that reason, you will probably want to stand it somewhere, rather than let it dangle from your tree. 

As it's six inches tall, it will make a wonderful conversation topic positioned prominently on your mantelpiece; or even placed in the center of your Christmas table.

There are gorgeous touches in the detail.  I like how subtly the shamrocks are included, within the Celtic knotwork at the hem.

Irish Angel Christmas Table Top Decoration

She might have golden wings, but that looks like Erin Herself to me!

Whether Ériu or a particularly Gaelic angel, descending from Heaven to watch over the Emerald Isle, she makes a very striking centerpiece for your Christmas dinner table. 

At 9.5 inches tall, you can bet that this figurine will also be able to peer over the bowl of sprouts.

A detail which may not be apparent from the image is that she's holding a golden edged green shamrock in her hand. The blessing on her skirt references St Patrick, which means that this could double as an ornament for St Patrick's Day too.  In fact, keep it out all year round!

The Emerald Isle Angel with blessing - Irish Christmas Table Top Ornament is made out of resin.  The detail, as you can see, is exquisite.

Red Irish Harp Christmas Tree Decoration

It's called a Cláirseach Ghaelach in Irish Gaelic; and it's represented Ireland historically on various flags.

But we don't talk about half of them.

Currently, it adorns the Standard of the President of Ireland, as well as the Flag of Leinster.  Dublin, the capital city of Eire, includes it in its coat of arms.  The Queen of England also uses the Celtic Harp to signify Northern Ireland.

This ceramic Gaelic Harp Christmas Ornament is made in Canada, and arrives in its own presentation gift box.

Celtic Harp Ceramic Christmas Ornament

Red Celtic Cross Christmas Tree Decoration

Over on Zazzle, there's another red ceramic Irish Christmas decoration. This time with a Celtic Cross and a legend stating 'Merry Christmas' in Irish.

In the dawn of Celtic Christianity, free standing crosses would be where the faithful met to hear The Word. It's thought that the Pagan sun ring was incorporated as an incentive for them to come and listen too.

As more people converted, churches began to be built alongside those stone crosses. As a native Celt, I can confirm that we still have these standing all over mainland Britain and Ireland.

Irish Gaelic Christmas Ornament

Irish Blessing on a Celtic Cross Christmas Decoration

Porcelain Kurt Adler holiday ornament with famous old words hailing from Ireland.

As traditional Gaelic blessings go, this one is probably the most famous of them all.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

However, nobody knows where it actually came from! We are certain that it's Irish, as that is the country where the toast is most often heard; plus the fact that it's translated (not very well...) from Irish Gaelic is a bit of a clue.

Kurt Adler's Porcelain Irish Cross Ornament is just over five inches high and it's made out of porcelain. It will look wonderful on your Christmas tree, conveying blessings over all who read it.

Inspired by Ireland Christmas Ornaments

The shamrock, a Celtic Cross and a nice sip of Guinness, what could say old Ireland at Christmas more than these?

Threefold Knot Christmas Tree Ornament

The triquetra is an ornate twisting of Celtic knotwork, which is often used to denote religious trinities.

Ireland is a Catholic country and so the card which accompanies the Trinity Knot Christmas Tree decoration talks about the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. 

It may be of interest to know that I have this exact symbol tattooed on my back.  For me, it's a different triple deity that's in mind.

But, of course, we're all pre-empted by popular culture. As soon as Charmed immortalized the triquetra, I had a queue of people lining up to ask if I was a fan.

Trinity Knot Ornament and Card

Irish Claddagh Christmas Tree Ornament

This may be my favorite Irish Christmas tree decoration to date, even if the representation is Union not Fenian. (The crown makes all of the difference.)

I've already explained the history of the Claddagh in Ireland - and its highly symbolic meanings - in my Wizzley article about the rings as love tokens.

Nip over there, if you're interested in all of that.

Originating from Galway, in Ireland, Claddagh rings were historically worn by men. They were clues towards love and friendship (and politics).

Staying with the ornament, I love the craftsmanship and the knotwork decoration. I think that the colors work brilliantly against a green background, which will probably be the color of your tree.

Like the Irish snowman up at the top, this is faux wood, with the 'carving' actually created from stone and resin.

The card that comes with it isn't so clever.  Perhaps you ought to read that history in the rings article after all, just so that you can meet the writing upon the accompanying missive with the correct level of disdain. 

Or just go with it!  It's all about friendship, loyalty, love and goodwill, which is, after all, in the true spirit of the holiday.

Crystal Claddagh and Trinity Knot Irish Ornament

After your crash course in Irish symbolism above, you should be reading it all into this sparkling decoration.

You're contemplating the Irish Claddagh Ornament metal filigree with hearts and jeweled crystals - snappy title - by Banberry Designs.

Here the Claddagh imagery is about as Fenian as you can get without actually removing the crown.  Instead it's been substituted for St Patrick's miter! 

Looped around it are several Trinity Knots (no mistaking the Christianity in this one), as well as hearts.

This may be a Christmas decoration, but that doesn't mean that it has to go back into the presentation gift box on Twelfth Night.

All of the hearts mean that you can keep it for display or gifting on Valentine's Day.

Then still don't put it away, because St Patrick's Day follows during the next month! 

To my mind (and the artist producing it), this metal filigree ornament works for all three. 

And it comes with a ribbon for easy dangling from the appropriate bough or neck, regardless of what party is actually in progress here!

Who was St Patrick? Pampered Roman child; shivering, starving slave; learned priest; precociously young bishop; missionary; all of the above.
Whether it's a parade or a party, or just nipping down the pub, you'll want to look the part this St Patrick's Day. Check out this Emerald Isle headwear!

Nollaig Shona Dhuit Christmas Decoration

Here is that clasped hand Claddagh from Ireland on a Christmas ornament again - in the apparently ubiquitous Union version.

But that's not all.

On the other side of the ornament is a very festive message in Irish - Nollaig Shona Dhuit. From Ireland's native tongue, this translates as 'merry Christmas'. 

It's pronounced 'no-lig ho-nah witch', but if you're not feeling particularly confident repeating it from my phonetic rendering, check out COD as GAEILGE's YouTube lesson in festive Irish pronunciations.

Irish Claddagh Gaelic Ornament

Learn How to Say Happy Christmas in Irish Gaelic

Nollaig Shona Dhuit Christmas Decorations

Christmas gift idea for Irish people - but only those living alone. This is the festive greeting for one person.

Things can get a little complicated when looking to buy a Christmas decoration with 'Merry Christmas' in Irish Gaelic.  Mostly because there are two different versions.

The key is that the final word alters depending upon whether you are greeting a single individual or a whole group of them.  Nollaig Shona Dhuit is the singular.  You're wishing one particular person a happy Christmas here.

If you want to be more general, you'll need to replace that dhuit with a dhaoibh.

Nollaig Shona Dhaoibh Christmas Ornaments

Decorative Irish Christmas gift ideas for couples, whole families or any other multiple people gathered together.

Looking for an Irish Gaelic Christmas decoration for a family home? Or an Irish language Christmas gift for a couple? Then the above are perfect for you! The dhaoibh makes it plural.

Thus Nollaig Shona Dhaoibh greets a whole group of people with a hearty 'Merry Christmas' from you, and all of their guests too once their Irish Gaelic ornament is on their Christmas tree.

And on that note, nollaig shona dhaoibh Wizzley readers! 

Irish Christmas Decorations on eBay

More Celtic and Irish Christmas Gift Ideas

Whether it's Nadolig Llawen or Nollaig Shona Duit, there are Christmas cards to match. It's a beautiful way to convey seasonal greetings to all of your Gaels and Celts.
There's an auld song that keeps on being played across the waters, wherever the Scots found their clans. Remember your roots with some Scottish Christmas ornaments.
Does Christmas mean taffy and a visit from Sion Corn in your home? Then indulge that hiraeth by picking out some Celtic Christmas ornaments from Wales.
Updated: 11/26/2014, JoHarrington
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JoHarrington on 10/20/2014

That is such a lovely tradition, practical too!

frankbeswick on 10/20/2014

Every Christmas Eve I would dig soil from the garden to fill a jar, and into the soil would go the Christmas candle. This is a western Irish tradition whose light signifies that the Christ child would be welcome in your home.

JoHarrington on 10/20/2014

As long as it's 'whiskey' and not 'whisky', with vetoes attached to some Irish brands, I'll try anything once. Particularly if whisky is involved.

Ember on 10/20/2014

Ah! The snowman! I did end up getting it for my coworker and her husband, and both really liked it!

This has also reminded me to see if I can get you to try an Irish car bomb...though I have a feeling I might get a "you want me to do what exactly with this shot of whiskey" >.>

JoHarrington on 12/03/2012

There is nowhere in the world like Temple Bar, is there? You can walk into any pub and be thoroughly entertained for the rest of the day. Or even sit outside it, as there's enough street theatre!

Awww! We Welsh have a word for the depth of home-sickness that lasts for generations. It's called 'hiraeth', though that's mostly the feeling you get when you realize that you're never going to be able to go home again. Sorry for your hiraeth, but hopefully an ornament or two will help. <3

sheilamarie on 12/03/2012

I loved being in Temple Bar, Dublin, for the music especially! Guinness is nice, too. You've got some great ornament choices here. Even after a couple of generations of living away, we Irish lot get a bit sentimental about the old sod.

JoHarrington on 12/03/2012

There are some really gorgeous ones for Ireland. Not so much for Wales though. It's made me want to create some better ones for my lot!

katiem2 on 12/03/2012

Lovely Irish bobbles you have here. Hard to chose between them all. :)K

JoHarrington on 11/28/2012

Thank you very much.

I thoroughly recommend finding a nice pub, perhaps in Temple Bar, Dublin, with live Irish music and a Guinness on the table. That is the perfect way to enjoy it.

Mira on 11/28/2012

I'd like to try the Guiness in Ireland too! :D

This was a great article, Jo!

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