Thursday, April 17, 2008

Celtic Shamrock Tattoos

Celtic shamrock tattoos are your thing. So you know every little thing about shamrock inside and out. Like, shamrock is considered the national emblem of Ireland and signifies the Celtic heritage. It is also a Christian motif with linkage to Trinity and St. Patrick as the legend has it. And of course who can forget the Irish luck of shamrock? You identify with them all, which is why you're wearing those Celtic shamrock tattoos.

Here's an easy question then. Are shamrock and clover the same thing?

Yes? Okay. So, out of the few hundred species of clover, which is the true shamrock?

Eh... Gotcha.

You'll agree that Celtic shamrock is a plant having compound leaves with three small leaflets. But which actual species of the three-leafed plants are the true shamrock? And is a shamrock a clover? There have been long debates over these. Let's see what the native Irish folks have to say about the true shamrock. A survey by the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Ireland conducted in 1988 reveals the following findings:

1. Hop clover (lesser trefoil): 46%

2. White clover: 35%

3. Black medick: 7%

4. Red clover: 4%

Only one of them above isn't a clover. It's quite clear then that a shamrock is a clover. There's no clear winner of the true shamrock though. But if you choose a hop or white clover as a base design for your Celtic shamrock tattoos, you can't be too far wrong for sure.

Looking at how the word "shamrock" came about that will throw light on whether shamrock is clover too. Etymologists have traced the word origin to the Gaelic word "seamaróg". Over the years, "seamaróg" became "shamrock" in English as the closest pronunciation to the original. Literally, the Celtic dialect word "seamaróg" translates into "little clover" or "young clover". (Is that why the designs of Celtic shamrock tattoos tend to be small?) .

So, shamrock is clover. It's just a smaller, or younger, version of clover.

Perhaps you're wondering whether a four-leaf clover is an Celtic shamrock? After all, they are clover and look similar except for the number of leaves. They are linked to Ireland. And, both are thought to bring good luck.

Nope. Sorry. Four-leaf clover cannot be considered shamrock. At least not technically in the sense of the shamrock representing the Trinity as illustrated by St. Patrick. The four-leaf clover is simply a mutation of the three-leaf clover believed to bring good luck to the accidental finders according to tradition. There is no Christianity connotation attached. So, when the Celtic shamrock tattoos someone showed you turn out to be four-leaf clover tattoos, you now know better.

Where can you wear your Celtic shamrock tattoos? Almost everywhere. Just like its namesake, "little clover," Celtic shamrock tattoos can be rather small and hence easy to wear.

Want to be chic? Wear a mini shamrock on the hand or foot. Or tattoo them on the ankle, shoulder, or lower back. Any part of the body you can think of you can wear them. How many other designs can match the versatility of the plain Celtic shamrock tattoos?

Want more elaborate designs? Try inking your Celtic shamrock tattoos in Celtic style. Interweave Celtic knots or tri-spiral image within the shamrock. Sit the shamrock in the center of a Celtic cross. Tattoo other Celtic artwork in and around the shamrock. Or try inking them in cartoon or portrait style. Use your imagination and check with the tattoo artists. You're bound to come up with something you like.

Knowing the nitty gritty about shamrock and its symbolism enrich the experience of wearing those Celtic shamrock tattoos. Like other body art, tattoos nowadays are not only a way of expressing your artistic tastes, but also your personal beliefs and background. The Celtic shamrock symbol, with its rich culture and the intricate details when done in Celtic style, can be very expressive and suit the purposes pretty well. So, good luck to finding your personal Celtic shamrock tattoos soon.

Go here to access a growing gallery of cool tattoo designs of Celtic shamrock tattoos, Japanese kanji tattoos and many others.

More ideas on Celtic shamrock tattoos, Japanese kanji tattoos and other tattoo designs that fascinate Piers Pang.