The story behind Celtic tattoos is almost as intricate as the designs are. From ink that fiercely intimidates foes on the battlefield to the meaning of life with no beginning nor end.
If you were to take a trip back to the Iron age you would discover the Celtic tribal societies: Europe, England, Scandinavian Ireland, Scotland, and Wales just to name a few.
Among each countries’ warriors stood two common badges of honor, brightly dyed hair and indigo stained skin from the native Woad plant.
When it came to inking the skin, men on the battle field could be seen with knot designs on either the upper chest or arms. However, within time countless patterns, symbols and meanings emerged.
Take for example the pure knot, which symbolized there was no beginning or end in life. It has often been said to be the crossing of the spiritual and physical worlds; representing eternal life, restitution and the complexity of nature itself.
Swirls, trinities and circles are believed to symbolize nature, motion, time and the wind. While the popular cross and circle stood for the unity of four directions under the sun.
For the interwoven lines and patterns inspiration is drawn from The Irish Book Of Kells. Ornamental lines and interlocking knots aside, animals even mythological ones such as dragons served a purpose. They could act as a symbol of powerful force, protection or exemplary courage. Not to mention family crests and trees of life were incorporated into the designs too.
Yet, no matter what design or meaning you go with, I’ve put together a collection of 40 Celtic tattoos for men to give you plenty of inspiration. Understand that most are black, however lately color has become more trendy and widely accepted.