Top 87 Best Irish Tattoo Ideas [2021 Inspiration Guide]
Historically, Ireland is a combination of ancient Celtic and Gaelic traditions along with Catholicism. Oppression, victory and a fighting spirit along with medieval castles and elements of the spectacular landscape all serve as themes or backgrounds for Irish tattoos.
The Kelly green, white and orange-striped flag of the country is commonly used to depict Irish ancestry. As a symbol, the flag represents unity. The colors represent the Irish Gaels, William of Orange and peace. Irish flags are often combined with a three or four-leafed shamrock, that stands for luck and prosperity.
Shamrocks are also associated with St. Patrick, the Holy Trinity and Catholicism. The patron saint was responsible for spreading Christianity among the pagan people. Some tattoos revolve around the symmetrical Cross of Saint Patrick. Complex Celtic crosses feature intricately woven patterns that are created in black work or multiple color images. Irish crosses might also incorporate a series of Celtic knots, dragons or serpents and weaponry.
When desiring to commemorate a loved one, the Claddagh tattoo remains one of the most popular. The image consists of two hands holding a heart topped with a royal crown. Many variations of the design are possible as well as the techniques used to create the image. Leprechauns have long been associated with Irish folklore and are depicted as being everything from whimsical to evil. Dramatic displays might involve black work or full-colored caricatures or life-like portraits.
1. Castle Tattoos
This is a nicely explored landscape piece etched in black and gray that has been extended from the original castle and Celtic cross. The new chest addition shows off a coastal inlet and does a solid job of incorporating rocky outcrops and the frothing white caps of the ocean.
A nicely executed Irish Castle – it looks to be Blarney Castle – in black and gray. The shading of this piece is done in a way to accentuate the different scale elements of the tower, parapet and battlements.
This castle tattoo provides an interesting shading technique. Fat needle work and agitation have been well used by the artist to mark the subject’s skin uniquely, it’s not unlike the look and feel of rough cut stone. The overall piece, and stone markers next to the castle could benefit from being filled out with other shading, such as sky, rain or ground elements to give it a more fully realized look.
2. Ireland Flag and Colors
A fantastic new wave interpretation of the Irish Flag tattoo. It utilizes the popular ripple effect that symbolizes resiliency and strength. The simple cursive Harding overlaying the colored flag is a well applied, understated touch, and the use of white ink through the middle section adds a further realist aspect.
This Irish tattoo represents freedom combined with rebirth and regeneration. The artist skilfully applies fuzzy black shading with a wider gauge needle around the outside of the image. This effect gives extra oomph to the Irish flag colors deployed inside the phoenix.
This ripped skin Irish tattoo is skillfully drawn, but would have been aided by more space being devoted to the flag image underneath – the piece looks a little thin to have that so much of the space ripped. The details are delivered with great attention to detail, particularly the black and gray rips cut through with fuzzy black support shading along the image edges.
A brilliant tattoo that incorporates a minimalist aesthetic with negative space and dotwork principles. The black line work is a precise, sharp, overlaying image with dots employed to give scale and overall balance. The negative space is used cleverly by becoming the body of the Emerald Isle, and supported by intense black shading to give it extra border detail.
3. Celtic Knotwork
This Irish tattoo is a simply expressed black ink Celtic Knot. The Celtic Knot symbolizes interconnection and eternity by using one continuous line. It’s also used in the context of Christianity to link with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This small tattoo uses a little bit of abstract influence in adding funky green color to the geometric black focal point of the image.
This a very cool Celtic circle. Here, the black ink is the contrasting filler for the knotwork that incorporates it’s twist by combining with negative space to build detail. It’s and effectively delivered tattoo.
4. Irish in the American/Neo Traditional Style
Wow. This Irish tattoo is a clash between realism and abstract influences to create a new wave Claddagh. The artist has opted to tattoo in a heart more likely to be found in an anatomical textbook rather than the regular heart shape used for tattoos of this kind. It’s a very bold statement. The crown is incorporated with an almost Japanese flair that is balanced beautifully by the elegant hands grasping the heart.
A cool representation of Ireland here with the priest in traditional Church garb cradling Guinness, the popular black beer. The artist has effectively used black line technique to create the piece then added small traces of shading in his beard to fill out the image.
This new wave riff on American Traditional tattoo has an Irish focus through the twin flags flanking the Eagle.
5. Celtic Cross Tattoo Designs
An interesting take on the Celtic Cross as it moves from symbol into working blade. It’s a unique method of delivering a traditional Irish tattoo. The artist has great touch, the shade work has a real grey/green feel reminiscent of early iron work and fits well with the subject. It’s a skilful piece of body art topped off by nice supporting shamrocks.
This is a glorious Celtic cross tattoo created with painstaking attention to detail and masterful technique. The piece looks like it could hang in the reliquary of a Catholic Church. The black ink here is etched with flawless precision – drawn darkly but clever use of negative space keeps the shadow from being heavy and overwrought.
The artist has also used brilliant dotwork – one of the most difficult, intense tattooing techniques – to fill inside the image and create beautifully unique contrast shading in the central cross.
Fantastic black line has been used to create this inside out style tattoo. There’s no need for shading, the piece is realized by using flowing black lines in conjunction with complex patterns and negative space to create an arresting Irish tattoo.
What’s interesting is this tattoo can stand alone in this style as a complete work or be filled with black and gray shading or solid color to develop an entirely different looking piece.
This is an amazing feature back piece. The tattooist has reached deep into their technical kit bag to transform the massive blank canvas with a fully realized Celtic cross and Claddagh.
This Irish tattoo has it all; crisp black linework, a wide array of intense shading technique veering from fuzzy black through tight black and gray shadow then pencil fine, the ability to implement negative space as an image filler, and an overall concept delivered with clarity and precision. The hands, heart, and sleeve of the Claddagh are standout focal points of this outstanding work.
This is a symbolic Irish tattoo focusing on a member of the McDonagh family, and his clan’s importance to the fabric of his personality.
6. The Claddagh Tattoo
A killer Claddagh Irish chest tattoo. Enjoyable contrast of the realist style crown and heart with the macabre skeletal fingers poking into the organ and cruelly extracting blood. While the piece is not for everyone it doesn’t lack for flair and creativity.
Another classic Celtic Cross and Claddagh combination tattoo. This one incorporates the traditional green and orange colors into the artwork instead of the usual black and gray.
If you weren’t aware of the Claddagh you’d miss it within this brilliantly executed chest tattoo. The heart of the Claddagh is used as an external border filled with the ship image and shading, with traditional crown atop it. The hands clasping the heart are beautifully rendered, the artist shading each hand with the exact amount of detail to make them realistic. The image then deviates from convention by incorporating too detail laden, realist falcons and a pair of rose flowers etched admirably in pencil gray.
The type of Irish tattoo image you see brandished about on biceps and shoulder blade during St Patrick’s Day every year, washed down with a pint or twenty of Guiness. This nifty small tattoo combines rich green coloring with a shamrock, Claddagh, and Irish flag. You can’t get much more Irish than that.
7. Irish Harp Tattoo Ideas
This is a beautifully realized Irish sleeve tattoo that has been built over time. The thick, heavily detailed Celtic Cross was the original piece inked on to the upper bicep. It has aged well into that gray stone look. Rather than continue with that style, the new artist continued the Irish tattoo theme by using other traditional images in new wave style.
Both the mid arm harp, and the lower down Claddagh are drawn in skilfully. The use of the green shadow and negative space links the theme together in an eye pleasing manner. The green shading is unique, and it’s odd enough to draw the images together without taking away from the entire message.
A beautifully realized Celtic Harp tattoo. The green highlight and bronzing of the frame’s color help add an element of individuality to this Irish tattoo. The artist’s pinpoint creation of the harp strings add an elegant degree of realism to the entire work.
This is a neat black and gray small tattoo of a harp supported by shadowed shamrocks. The artist has effectively etched in a very small green highlight just above the strings to make sure those viewing get the full Irish tattoo effect.
8. Shamrock Tattoo Ideas
This small tattoo of a shamrock is applied with great skill. The artist cleverly uses negative space inside the knots rather than just combining solid black and green throughout. It gives the artwork a nice sense of balance.
Enjoyable twist on a Gaelic shamrock, the design splits elements of bio-mechanical tattoo with traditional sketching in black and gray. The artist has used solid technique to frame the shamrock as if it’s been chiselled away from the skin to show the stony message beneath.
This is a lovely half sleeve. The Gaelic lettering is displayed with great, flowing skill and enhanced at various points by differentiating the font with negative space and framing. Meanwhile, the beautifully illustrated clover is almost delicate, etched in with concise green coloring aided by the combination of white/black ink highlights.
Wow. This is an awesome new wave take on shamrock. The clover forms an interesting border for the perfectly deployed emerald ink skull to shimmer through, and the artist has conveyed enough difference between the green shades to create a disquieting Irish tattoo.
This is an excellent cover up piece where a solid green shamrock has been inked to replace the image underneath, with small orange background highlights helping fill out the change. Another thing worth noting is the white inked semi colon – this symbol is a popular identifier for those who have had issues with suicidal thoughts or broader mental health issues.
9. Gaelic Tattoos
This daring Gaelic script is delightfully drawn down the course of the subject’s. The artist has shown good technical understanding of how to size and space the lettering, then filled with sharp, concise, flat black ink. Its a bold piece of artwork made to look simple.
The artist for this minimalist text piece has delivered a masterclass. This Gaelic lettering has been drawn up in the perfect font for its size and placement then etched into the skin with perfect clarity by a single needle. You have to appreciate the crisp delivery of each black line onto the subject’s pale skin.
10. Irish Faces
Beards are the best. Love this abstract take on portraiture method to create a not so larger than life leprechaun. The piece has been etched in a way to almost jump off the skin and tempt you with a pot of gold. The black line detailing in the beard – and that beautifully Irish orange hair – give the picture a bright cast, well balanced by the emerald eyes mirroring the green of the leprechaun’s top hat. The cob pipe, replete with crisp black line is an excellent added touch. You’d struggle to find a more Irish tattoo!
11. Black and Gray
Another great example of the skull inside of the shamrock. The artist has done a fantastic job giving the bone a realistic color and cast, while the dark shade of the shamrock just avoids being too overwhelming. For suc a small tattoo it does an epic job of making you want to keep gazing at it.
An excellent black and gray falcon tattoo that looks to incorporate previous Celtic elements into the new work. The bird has been etched in a way to make it look like it holding the Celtic Knot. It’s a nicely balanced chest tattoo with solidity in shading throughout.
A big fiery Irish tattoo. It’s enjoyable that the artist has given the backing a stone style with cracks and black/gray shading, then busted out more black and gray shading of a different gray, bracketed by thick black outlines to overlay it, with the massive shamrock image added to fill out the half sleeve’s spacing.
12. Fighting Irish Tattoo Ideas
An ambitious Irish heritage piece that riffs on the high-profile American college Notre Dame and its’ mascot the Fighting Irish. The entire piece is interesting and complex – love the richly detailed image of the Irish pugilist backed by simple gray shading – however the text representing Fighting needs an update or other element added to give it more clarity.
Darkening the shadow points of the word to more yellow/orange contrast, or also touching the word up with thicker black line flourishes in place of the muted white highlights could help it be interpreted more clearly.
Irish Tattoo FAQs
What are some popular Irish tattoo symbols?
There are numerous popular Celtic and Irish tattoo symbols. Many are linked with history, the Celtic tradition, good luck or Christianity. Some of the most frequently found examples of Irish tattoo work include:
- The Celtic Cross
- The Celtic Knot
- The Tree of Life
- The Claddagh
- Celtic armbands
- The shamrock
- The Irish flag
- The Celtic Harp
- Leprechaun tattoos
Did the ancient Irish have tattoos?
Irish history is a mix of Celtic and Gaelic traditions. The Celts have a long and fascinating tattoo history – dating back to before the Roman occupation of the British Isles.
The Celts were often tattooed in rites of passage or to commemorate battle and to acknowledge great deeds. Tattooing was a regulated part of traditional Celtic society, with the practice restricted to certain people and families.
The Celts also had a fondness for fighting naked, tattooed and painted only in the dye of the woad plant. Julius Caesar himself wrote in correspondence about the fearsome fighters clothed only in blue paint.
At that time (around 100AD) European tattoo was culture was either a part of the Barbarian cultures – Picts, Celts, Scythians and Thracians – or confined to those captured and kept in battle by the Greeks and Romans from battle as markers for slaves.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
With cellphones so ubiquitous, your watch choice can be less about telling time and more about personal style. However, a watch is not ‘just’ a watch. For example, the vast majority are made for right-handed people, but a select few cater to the lefties among us. There is a wide range in functionality and size.
The wristwatch is also one of the few socially acceptable accessories for men, so why not have a small selection? If you’re not cashing a CEO’s paycheck just yet, here are the top 28 most handsome watches for men that retail for under $500.
Got a bigger budget? Then check out our guide to the best men’s watches under $1000 instead.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
1. Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
If you like the feel of a pliable, non-metal band but aren’t comfortable with genuine leather, this watch comes equipped with a handsome synthetic band. At 46mm in diameter, this watch is perfect for men of smaller stature, as it will not overpower your hand or make it look like you’re wearing your father’s watch. With bold Arabic numerals, a stainless steel case, and classic styling, this watch is an outstanding choice for an everyday watch and the man on a budget.
2. Nordgreen Pioneer – Black Dial
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Not everyone has an endless amount of cash to drop on a luxury timepiece. If you’re money-conscious but want something high-end, then why not consider the Nordgreen Pioneer.
An inspired take on a classic Chronograph, Nordgreen celebrates the Danish with what they call a timepiece “that captures the sustainable future.” Available in various dial colors from blue, black, and white. There’s even the choice of three case colors – gunmetal, silver, and rose gold. A perfect addition to the collection of any watch enthusiast.
3. Fossil Grant Brown Leather Watch
This lovely offering by Fossil features slim Roman numeral hour markers and delicate cut-out hands. The casing is stainless steel and is water-resistant to 165 feet, making it a great dive watch. The band is made of supple, soft calfskin leather and uses a buckle closure.
Of course, this timepiece also comes with the generous 11-year warranty and it’s own fun tin. This watch oozes class and is great for nearly every occasion in your life.
4. Citizen Sport Stainless Steel Men’s Watch With Brown Leather Band
If you don’t want to deal with changing out a battery in a digital watch, this watch is powered by either natural or indoor lighting. The mineral crystal face and stainless steel case make this watch water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for swimmers and snorkelers.
Handsome and utilitarian, this is a great watch for everyday wear. It’s one of the best watches for men who are always on the go.
5. Fossil Men’s Machine Chronograph Silicone Watch
This watch was designed with the active man in mind. The knurled silicone band stands up to sweat and oils without issue, and the timepiece itself is water-resistant to 165 feet.
The patterned bezel and quality craftsmanship of the black dial is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fossil watch. It even comes in the iconic and collectible tin!
6. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch
This men’s watch features Japanese quartz movement that charges itself indoors or out when exposed to light, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to change out the battery too often. The stitched canvas strap is soft against your skin and will wick away moisture, while the mineral crystal face stands up to the rigors of your everyday life.
Water-resistant to 330 feet, this dive watch is a classic and simple design you’ll be proud of for years to come.
7. Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph Men’s Watch
Another gorgeous offering by Invicta, this watch features a bold design with a slightly nautical feel to it. It will look at home whether you’re wearing a business suit or are going for a dive of less than 660 feet. This piece is also covered by a one-year warranty as a matter of course. The luminosity feature and magnified date window make it a great choice if you work or play in low light.
If you want something that looks like a Tag Heuer but without the luxury watch brand price tag, this is a good option!
8. Casio Edifice Multi-Function Men’s Watch
This watch has three sub-dials for 12 hour, 60 minute and 60-second displays, in addition to the standard time. It also features a fold-over, push-down clasp on the stainless strap, keeping it secure throughout your activities. If you’re looking for a classy timepiece that shrieks sophistication, this is a great choice.
9. Fossil Machine Three Hand Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This quality watch is a chameleon piece. It looks at home as a dress watch riding below the cuff of your best suit, and it also looks great paired with jeans and a t-shirt. Backed by Fossil’s 11-year warranty as a matter of course and beautifully crafted, this smoke-colored piece is guaranteed to become the go-to accessory for nearly every occasion.
10. MVMT Watches Black Face Men’s Watch
If you like the look of a simple watch, this minimalist offering from MVMT is right up your alley. With just a plain black face, tick marks to denote the hours and a single date window, there is nothing overdone or extravagant about this design. The is understated and suited to the simple design. It’s definitely a classy, low-key piece for the budget-conscious.
11. Timex Weekender Watch
If you’re looking for a fun watch to pair with casual outfits, this is a great option. The band is blue and yellow woven nylon, and the face features both civilian and military timekeeping. An Indiglo night light is also included. This watch is water-resistant to 99 feet, meaning it can withstand splashes of water or exposure to rain but you won’t want to submerge it.
12. PUMA Ultrasize Black Sport Men’s Watch
Boasting a 50mm diameter, this piece is perfect for the large-framed man or one who likes to wear his accessories oversized. A true fashion statement, this sports watch comes in eight different colors schemes to match your favorite hues.
Do be aware, however, that the dial knob is configure for left-handed men!
13. Timex Easy Reader Men’s Watch
Another dress watch designed with the older gentleman in mind, this watch features a white dial with generously sized numerals that do not appear comical to the casual observer.
It’s also an excellent choice if you take your contacts out at night and still want to be able to check the time. With classic lines and a simple white face, the watch would not be out of place at any casual gathering. It comes with Timex’s one-year warranty at no additional charge.
14. Fossil Nate Men’s Chronograph Watch
For men who like a more gritty, industrial feel to their accessories, this Fossil watch is right on point. The bezel is gear-edged and the face is utilitarian black and gray. Water-resistant to 165 feet, this watch is a great choice if you like your adornments to be understated yet add visual interest.
It’s definitely a stand-out piece, for those who would take notice!
15. Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Men’s Watch
Featuring an indigo night light, tachymeter, a date window and a buckle closure, this watch is perfect for men who like to work or play outdoors. It is also water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for snorkeling or swimming.
You won’t want to wear it for diving, however. With classic, black styling and a genuine crystal face, this is a timepiece that will stand the test of time in both form and function.
16. Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This Seiko automatic watch has all the bells and whistles you need, but presents it all in a plain and strikingly attractive manner. It features a date window in either English or Spanish, sword-shaped hands, a sweeping second hand and a mineral dial window. This is a great option for the man on the go. The canvas strap can be removed and hand-washed if sweat or other odors become an issue.
This watch is not water-resistant, so you’ll only want to wear it when you won’t be popping by the pool for a swim!
17. Invicta Pro Diver Collection Silver-Tone Men’s Watch
For those who prefer an all-metal timepiece, the stainless steel Invicta fits the bill nicely. It has a similar aesthetic to a Tag Heuer watch, but at a more affordable price. Equipped with a unilateral bezel and removable links, the band can be customized to fit your wrist perfectly. The face is flame fusion crystal and features a magnifier to highlight the date window.
It’s also water-resistant to 660 feet. If you’re looking for a gorgeous watch that stands up to an active lifestyle, this is an excellent choice.
18. Seiko Men’s Adventure-Solar Classic Casual Watch
This Seiko watch derives its power from either natural or indoor light and can withstand water depths of up to 330 feet. The supple brown leather strap and timeless brushed steel give this piece an attractive look, and the alarm chronograph is easy to set.
If you’re looking for a watch that can serve as a backup for your wake-up call while traveling, stand up to the elements and look awesome, this casual wrist watch is a winner.
19. Nautica Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Resin Band
Featuring a plethora of options and a smart, snappy style, this a great casual watch with a eye-catching blue dial. The hardy resin band is adjustable, and the face is protected by a mineral window. Whether for work or play, this bold blue design is handsome and substantial on the wrist. It comes with Nautica’s five-year warranty at no additional charge.
20. Citizen Sport Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Black Leather Band
The black, red and white face of this piece eschews the traditional two-tone color scheme so often employed in other watches, and the contrasting stitching on the band adds creative flair. It comes backed by Citizen’s five-year warranty and will compliment any casual outfit.
21. Alessi Tic15 Analog Display Analog Quartz Black Men’s Watch
Another not-quite-round offering on our list, the curved square casing of this piece gives it instant visual appeal. Sleek and clean, this unfussy design will be a compliment to almost any occasion. It has quartz movement and is water-resistant to 99 feet, making it a great choice for everyday wear.
22. Invicta 1517 I Force Collection Watch
Another on our list designed for left-handed men, this watch is something special. Water-resistant to 330 feet and featuring oversize stenciled numbers and a sub dial, this watch is great for any casual outfit. The cloth band is extremely durable and stands up to dirt, sweat and grime.
If you lead an active lifestyle, this watch will be right at home in your collection.
23. TRIWA Blue Steel Nevil Canvas Watch
This watch comes in a whopping 14 color variations, all of them beautiful. You may decide to add more than one to your collection!
Designed in Sweden, this watch features Japanese quartz movement, a stainless steel casing and a strap made from Tärnsjö organic leather. TRIWA, which stands for Transforming the Industry of Watches, believes in the artistry of fine jewelry and it shows in their product.
24. Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Watch
Another fine dress watch from the makers of the Swiss Army knife, this watch is emblazoned with the internally recognized cross and shield emblem. It has no sub-dials, tachymeter or other add-ons to detract from its simple and appealing style.
This watch will be at home with all but the most formal of outfits and carries a two-year warranty.
25. Ingersoll Automatic Stainless Steel Bull Run Watch
Again, Ingersoll remakes the classics and brings them into the present day. With a highly polished stainless steel casing, two sub-dials, a date aperture and arrow-shaped hands, this quartz watch is beautiful.
The band features contrasting stitching on the fine-grain leather, adding depth and detail to the workmanship. This watch will compliment any casual occasion and can be relied upon for years to come.
26. Tissot Quickster Chronograph Black Leather Men’s Watch
Made with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Swiss automatic movement, this watch is a smart and utilitarian choice. If you’re looking for a solid Swiss watch that isn’t flashy, this is an excellent option. It’s also guaranteed for two years.
27. Seiko Sport Solar Men’s Beige Watch
Are you getting tired of squinting down at your watch or holding it closer and closer to your face? Don’t worry, we all get a bit nearsighted with age, especially over the age of 40.
If you’re not quite ready for reading glasses or a comically huge watch, this is a great choice from Seiko. The numerals, indices and luminous hands stand out in stark white against a black background, and the numerals are generous in size. It’s a perfect casual watch for the older gentleman.
28. Seiko Men’s 5 Watch Blue Canvas Band
This simple and affordable watch has a clean, crisp aesthetic to it and doesn’t bog down its design with a ton of bells and whistles. It’s time and date, end of.
If you want a watch for casual wear, this Seiko is a shoo-in. The band is forgiving and comfortable against your wrist, and it’s blue color will likely compliment your existing wardrobe. The price is also extremely affordable.
29. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Stainless Steel Watch With Brown Leather Band
Featuring the Hilfiger logo at the three o’clock position, this wrist watch is a statement piece. It is a bright, shiny stainless steel work of art that you’ll be proud to wear at all but the most stuffy of workplaces. The calfskin leather band uses a buckle closure and the date window is beside the logo at three o’clock.
If you’re a fan of Tommy clothing, cologne or luggage, you can complete your look with this stunning accessory.