Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight with Sharon Donovan


A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to visit Ireland, the home of my ancestry. The Emerald Isle is truly an enchanted land, full of legend and lore. Whimsical castles loom high above heathery mountains and rocky headlands, giving way to rolling green hills and miles of coppery beaches. And with the sheep grazing high on misty hillsides, it’s like stepping back in time to another era when life was much simpler.

A lot of writers come from Ireland, including James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wild. With its green hills and rugged landscape, major movies have been filled on the island. The Irish take great pride in pointing out the farmhouse on the Dingle Peninsula where Ryan’s Daughter was filmed. Inch Strand Beach, shaped like a sandy half moon, is one of the most remote parts of Ireland. But the best part of the trip was learning the legend of The Claddagh Ring, which has a rich history dating back three hundred years.

According to legend, the first Claddagh Ring originated in a small fishing port off the coast of Galway. Truly a land of legend and lore, the Irish are known to spin a wee bit of the blarney from time to time. Some say the ring was blessed by St. Patrick himself. Others believe the ring was dropped into the lap of a woman by an eagle. And others say the original Claddagh was brought to Galway by a man who was captured by the Algerians and sold to a Moorish goldsmith. But whatever the case, the legend of the Claddagh has lived for the past several centuries. And in today’s material world where love and marriage are taken far too lightly, the legend strengthens relationships. The wearer of the Claddagh is said to be blessed with love, friendship and loyalty forevermore.

But in order for the Claddagh to cast its mystical spell, the Claddagh must be worn a certain way. The design consists of two hands holding a heart with a crown on top of the heart. The hands represent friendship, the heart is for love, and the crown is for loyalty. If the ring is worn on the right hand with the heart facing outward, the wearer is looking for love. If worn on the left hand with the heart facing outward, the wearer has found love. But when worn on the left hand with the heart facing inward, the wearer has found its soulmate for life and will be forever blessed.

Being Irish and awed by the legend, I was inspired to write The Claddagh Ring. And while touring the Atlantic Breakers and the Cliffs of Moher, part of my book takes place in County Clare. The Breakers pound the west coast of the county, sculpting the grey limestone into a myriad of shapes, the most notorious, the Cliffs of Moher. A rich plethora of birdlife as puffins and shags crest on the cliffs, adding to the savage grandeur. Beneath the rocks, the waves have spread a thin dusting of golden sand, said to be sprinkled by angel wings. Standing on these cliffs with the wind on my back and the sun on my face, I was inspired to write The Claddagh Ring. Here is a blurb and excerpt:

“To live in the hearts we leave behind is to never die.” Thomas Campbell

Struggling with her faith after her mother’s death, Meghan O’Malley finds comfort in wearing her Claddagh Ring, said to be blessed by St. Patrick. And when Meghan meets Rork, she finds love, loyalty and friendship. But before everything comes full circle, Meghan must face the biggest challenge of her life.

Rork McGuire is ruggedly handsome, sings Celtic music straight from his soul—and
has a deep secret. When he sees Meghan O’Malley tending bar at her club, he falls hopelessly in love with her and wants to give her his heart. Will the secret he harbors pull them together—or break them apart?

As Meghan mixed drinks from behind the bar of The Wild Irish Rose, the fiddle and
violin captured the true essence of Ireland. The tantalizing aroma of Irish stew,
corn beef and cabbage and soda bread wafted through the room.
Suddenly, all activity came to a halt as the eerie wail of bagpipes keened through
the bar. The lead singer took center stage with his rendition of Danny Boy, the haunting
lyrics crawling into Meghan’s skin. Mesmerized by his hypnotic blue eyes, she stopped
what she was doing and met his penetrating gaze. With the exception of her mother,
she’d never heard anyone pluck the strings of the harp with such finesse. The Claddagh
Ring on her right hand felt hot, the heart pressing into her skin. By the time the
song ended, Meghan’s green eyes were misty with tears.

“Well now, darlin’,” he touched her cheek. “If I knew Danny Boy would make you cry,
I’d a sung When Irish Eyes are Smiling.”

Meghan Shannon O’Malley lost herself in pools of midnight blue.

“I’m Rork,” the corners of his eyes crinkled when he smiled. He took her right hand
and kissed the heart on her ring. “Single and looking, are ya?”


“The Claddagh Ring, darlin’,” he kissed it again. “On your right hand with the heart
facing outward, means you’re single and looking for romance.”

“Ah…I have no idea what you’re talking about; it’s just a ring, a gift from my mother.”

“Ah, come on now, darlin’ girl,” he got a little closer, staring into her eyes. “Ya
can’t fool an Irishman. My mother bought one for each of my sisters. I’ll have ya
know they’re all married.”

Meghan felt lightheaded. “My mother gave me this ring the night before she died. It’s a family heirloom, said to be blessed by St. Patrick himself. Mama promised me by wearing the Claddagh, everything in my life would come full circle. So before you go thinking I’m wearing it to find a husband, think again.”

“Do you believe in love at first sight?” his blue eyes seared into hers like lasers. “What do ya say, Meghan, darlin’ girl of my heart.”

The Claddagh Ring Available Now!
To see the book trailer, visit my website:

Sharon Donovan
Romantic Suspense with a Twist of Faith


Sharon Donovan said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Toni Anderson said...

Happy St Patrick's Day, Sharon! My hubby is Irish so it's a happy day, although he loathes green beer :)

Sharon Donovan said...

Top o' the mornin' to ya, Toni! I can't blame your husband for loathing green beer. Just the thought of it makes me a wee bit queasy! Enjoy the day.

Linda Swift said...

Hi Sharon. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you. Loved the photos and the excerpt from your book. Today is my anniversary. It's not easy for my husband to forget the day with it being conncected to this holiday. Some of my roots go back to Ireland also but I've never been there. I hope to go one day soon. I love the legend of the Claddagh ring. I'm not sure how to pronounce the word, thouogh. Could you give me the phonetic pronounciation, the way the Irish say it?

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Linda,
Happy Anniversary! I hope you have a double celebration on this special day, and may your life be twice blessed! Here is the pronunciation, only for you, Linda!


P.L. Parker said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day - I have a little Irish on my mother's side. Beautiful photographs. Great info on the Claddagh Ring. Great post.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Patsy, Happy St. Patrick's Day! We're all a wee bit Irish on St. Patty's Day. I loved Ireland and dining in a castle where the Earl himself used to entertain was so awesome.

K.M. Daughters said...

And The Rest Of The Day to You, Sharon. Since one of us was named Patricia Noel, when she was little she not only thought she "owned" St. Patrick's Day but also that she was "the first Noel". :-) Loved your post. Brings back memories of our trips to Ireland. Blessings to you on Pat's saint's day. Always.

Sharon Donovan said...

Another visit by the lovely sister team! And the rest of the day to you, too! What a cute story about the "Noel" and why not? Thank you for stopping by, and so happy to send you on a trip down memory lane through poetic Ireland. Enjoy that corned beef! My stew is a brewing in the slow cooker, and unfortunately, I burnt the Irish soda bread. Ah, well, luck of the Irish!

Tiffany Green said...

A big Happy St. Patrick's Day to you, Sharon! Loved the photos. I am planning a trip to England and Scotland in the next year or two, now I have to visit Ireland, too! Your excerpt is fabulous! Loved the chemistry between the characters.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Tiffany. And a Happy St. Patrick's Day to you, too! Thank you for the wonderful compliment. Oh, that Claddagh has its magic. You would love Ireland, and a trip to England and Scotland sounds quite mystical. No doubt you'll be touring some grand old castles and will truly feel as if you've been transported back in time. I'd love to hear about it!

M.Flagg said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Sharon. Your pictures are beautiful and I enjoyed the excerpt - could hear that lilting accent right through the words.

Have a great day and thanks for the info on the Claddagh. Waving hi to Oliver as well :) ~ Mickey

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Mickey, and a top o' the day to you! Thank you so much. I adore legends and lore and am so superstitious! Wishing you a Happy St. Patrick's Day too. And Oliver is certainly tipping his hat to you and blowing kisses!

Hywela Lyn said...

Happy St Patrick's Day, Sharron, Ithough I feel a little disloyal since my own Patron Saint is St David, but I love the way eveyrone round the world seems to celebrate Ireland's special day. Wonderful post, as usual, Sharon, and I love, love your story. The Claddagh Ring is a lovely legend and your book is a wondeful romance.

Oh, a note to Tiffany - If you're going to visit England, Ireland and Scotland, please don't forget my native Wales. The rural areas (and the further north you go, the more rural it gets) are spectacularly beautiful, with mountains and lakes like Scotland, and the legends and Celtic folklore of Ireland!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Lyn, thank you so much for your lovely words. And since I have some Welsh blood in me, I also pay tribute to St. David. And I would love to visit Wales one day, and just by the passion in your voice when you speak of your homeland, it sounds utterly awesome and worth a trip.

Mary Ricksen said...

Hi Sharon, I can't wait to read this. I love Ireland!
What a lovely kind of story. Right up my alley!!
Happy St. Paddy's day to you and everyone else too!
Love your blog.

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Mary, and here's hoping you had a mighty fine day. I know you have some Irish in you, so toasting one up to you! Never change.

Sharon Donovan said...

I'd like to thank everyone for stopping by to spend a little time with me on St. Patrick's Day. I hope you all had a fabulous celebration and practiced a favorite tradition. As promised, one commenter will be drawn for a pdf of The Claddagh Ring. Sharon dips her hand into the green hat. And the winner is...
Tiffany Green. Congratulations, Tiffany! Please contact me at

Special thanks to Hywela Lyn for downloading my pictures. Thanks, Lyn!

Until next time, may the luck of the Irish be with you as you travel through life.

Love and Blessings,