In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re featuring Maureen O’Hara from the 1952 classic The Quiet Man for the 4th year in a row! Mary Kate Danaher’s brother won’t give her her dowry, and her husband is an Irish-American boxer (John Wayne) who won’t fight him for it, which only makes her angrier. Most of the film, she’s pissed off but she’s smiling brightly here, at the end. O’Hara is wearing a cornflower blue button-down shirt, a full red skirt with navy piping, a white apron and a sky blue scarf crisscrossed over her chest. The stunning redhead looks good in anything, but the combination of red, white and blue looks gorgeous on her (and supports her husband’s national colors!) Éirinn go Brách! <3
This editor tends to be more romantic than the other, so when I opted to write our piece on Claddagh rings, I couldn’t help but talk about the embellished and romanticized version behind its origin. Legend has it that a fisherman by the name of Robert Joyce left his native town “Claddagh” in Galway (pictured, below right), on the western coast of Ireland, for the West Indies when his ship was taken over by pirates. He was forced into slavery and sold to a goldsmith. There, while perfecting his new craft, he designed the first Claddagh ring as a symbol of his undying love for his lassie back home. The two joining hands holding a heart represent friendship, the crown sitting atop the heart signifies loyalty and lasting fidelity, while the heart itself is the sign for eternal love and devotion. After years of imprisonment, Joyce finally gained his freedom when King William III ordered the release of all slaves in 1689. Joyce hoped to return to the arms of Margaret, his long lost love. There, he found her… still waiting. They spent the rest of their lives together without the Claddagh ever leaving Margaret’s hand. Whatever the legend may be about their romance and the ring, Joyce’s initials do appear on one of the oldest surviving Claddagh rings. Other rings of that era bare initials of another goldsmith named Thomas Meade.
The very first rings these editors were ever given were small, silver Claddaghs gifted to us by our Italian mother, who wanted us to be proud of our heritage and the history behind the Claddagh. (Which is interesting, because it belongs to a group of European rings called fede rings, which comes from the Italian phrase, “mani in fede,” meaning, “hands joined in faith or loyalty.” Also, traditionally, in the US and Ireland, Claddagh rings are supposed to be handed down mother to daughter, or grandmother to granddaughter.) Although our mom isn’t Irish at all, she always cherished its symbolism and history. The Claddagh hadn’t held significant meaning to this editor again, until thirteen years later, when my future husband gifted me a gold Claddagh ring for our one month anniversary. I still wear it with my matching pendant he got me later on. <3
Fun Fact: There are special meanings to the ring, depending on how the Claddagh is worn. If it’s worn on your left ring finger, with the heart facing you, you are married or, by all means, spoken for. If the heart is facing outward on the left ring finger, it means to you’re engaged. If you have a Claddagh ring on your right ring finger, with the heart facing inward, it means you’re in a relationship. And if the ring’s heart is facing outward on the right ring finger, it means you’re single and looking for love. Finally, if your Claddagh appears on any old finger, we guess it just represents Irish heritage. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
The Quiet Man may be the most noticeable movie in America about Ireland, and is always a St. Patrick’s Day favorite. John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara star in the 1952 film about an American boxer, Sean Thornton, that falls for a surly, sharp-tongued spinster named Mary Kate Danaher (love it!) Here, O’Hara is wearing a black-belted green floral dress, adorned with white buttons and a lace-trimmed collar. Without the wide collar, this would actually look pretty modern otherwise, and the material makes O’Hara’s emerald eyes pop (pictured, below). She tops it off with a wide-brimmed straw hat, which looks gorgeous against her red locks. According to IMDb, the national color of Ireland (green) is shown in nearly every shot of the film, but it only appears on one costume in the entire movie – this one. Which makes sense, since it’s the first instance in the film when Mary Kate and Sean kiss! Apparently bad weather and bickering is what gets the Irish going! Erin Go Bragh! <3
Ondine tells the tale of a woman (Alicja Bachleda) that ends up in the net of an Irish fisherman (Colin Farrell), and he and his daughter attempt to figure out if she’s just a pretty girl, or possibly a nymph from the sea. I guess we’re kind of ruining the ending by showing this scene, although we’re not telling if she’s a woman, or a Selke. 😉 But we just love Ondine’s simple white, capped-sleeve wedding gown. The dress’s eyelet detailing actually looks like a Celtic design, and the knee-length silk veil with tiny flower buds on the bottom looks lovely on Ondine’s loose mermaid waves. It’s the perfect bridal look for an Irish wedding on a fishing boat. Especially when the bride may actually hail from the sea…
When looking for an Irish-inspired heel this year, we came upon a message board where Irish-dancers were discussing footwear that reminded them of their soft shoes, also known as “ghillies.” One of the girls suggested these Stuart Weitzman pumps, also named the “Ghillie,” that resemble the lace-up front of an Irish dance shoe. The gray metallic stiletto has a 4 inch heel, and originally retailed for about $345.00.
We really like the clothing in P.S. I Love You… Probably because Hilary Swank puts on a new cute outfit or coat in every scene, but probably because it’s provided us with a bevy of stylish choices for “Irish Week!” At first, we didn’t think we’d be able to find a “Pink Wednesday” choice this year, and then remembered – Swank’s character, Holly, actually wore pink a couple of times in this 2007 romantic comedy! While visiting the Emerald Isle, she goes to a bar with her best friends, donning slim jeans, heels and this cute magenta, silk blouse with half-bows around the collar, creating a ruffled effect. It’s also the outfit Holly is wearing when she meets a sexy Irish singer for the first time in… But we happen to prefer the film’s promotional photo (pictured, above) when Holly is pretty in pink. Because Gerard Butler in a white t-shirt really gives this film enormous appeal. <3
Leap Year tells the tale of an uptight Irish-American girl that attempts to propose to her boyfriend on February 29th, the one day every four years an Irish woman can ask a man to marry him (haha, how forward-thinking…) Amy Adams plays the lead, while the adorable Adam Scott unusually plays her pretentious boyfriend (and nails it!) Here the two appear before an apartment board, looking ever the power couple with Adams in a gray blazer, black blouse with of a hint lace and a pencil skirt, while Scott dons a dark suit, light blue button-down and a cream tie. The two look perfect together, but it’s not meant to be…
Today marks the beginning of our 3rd Annual Irish Week, when we feature our favorite looks from Irish film, which gets increasingly harder, since the stories of the Emerald Isle tend to be quite depressing. Here is the stunning Saffron Burrows with her pals in the 1995 film Circle of Friends. Minnie Driver is the star of this romantic comedy, but it’s her fashionable friend, Nan, who steals all of the thunder. Here, they’re watching a rugby match, and while Driver and costar Geraldine O’Rawe don lovely coats with matching striped school scarves, Nan looks ever the lady in a navy coat, matching gloves, a white blouse and soft, sophisticated scarlet locks. But her grown up looks get her in more trouble than its worth…
The Irish and the English have been fighting for centuries, which has led to violence, oppression, terrorism and death. In the short year that Kate Middleton and Prince William have been married, it seems the royal couple have been attempting to take small steps to uniting the two countries through… fashion? It might sound shallow at first, but it seems the prince and princess have been honoring the Emerald Isle all year! Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and in honor of March 17th, Kate Middleton handed out bouquets of shamrocks (the national flower of Ireland) to the Irish Guard (pictured, above). The princess sported a gorgeous belted green Emilia Wickstead coat with chocolate suede pumps and a matching “Betty Boop” hat by Lock and Co. She topped off her look with a gold shamrock brooch, previously used by the Queen Mother and Princess Anne, a bouquet of shamrocks in her lapel, and amethyst and diamond earrings by Kiki McDonough (hmm, a jeweler with an Irish surname). For their enormous wedding last April, Prince William donned the traditional red dress uniform of the Irish Guard. Considering one out of every three people on Earth watched the royal wedding, we have a feeling the prince was trying to make a statement about his respect for Ireland. Last year, William was appointed to the honorary rank of of Colonel of the Irish Guard, and last June the couple handed out operational service medals to the Guards who fought in Afghanistan (pictured, below). Princess Kate has also been sporting Irish designer Orla Kiely quite a bit, lately. Earlier this week, she wore a lovely gray accordion dress while visiting the Dulwich Picture Gallery (pictured, above left). In February, while visiting schools in Oxford, she wore a 1970s walnut-brown bird patterned dress coat by Kiely that sold out within minutes (pictured, above right). While the British-Irish conflict isn’t exactly a problem that will be fixed with clothing, it’s nice to see the young royals making an effort to unite the two cultures with shared traditions and Irish fashion. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!