The heartbreaking story of the many Claddagh Rings found amongst the wreckage of the Twin Towers.
Of the almost 3,000 Americans who died on 9/11, it is estimated that 1,000 people killed had connections to Ireland. In the aftermath many people of Irish descent who were looking for their loved ones, contacted rescue agencies and identified the missing person by the Claddagh ring they were wearing.
The claddagh ring is a traditional Irish symbol of friendship, loyalty and love. The ring was brought to the US by Irish immigrants back in the 1800’s and is still used by many Americans as a wedding ring and as a symbol of their Irish heritage.
911 Memorial in Ireland
Over 200 claddagh rings were reclaimed from Ground Zero. Many of the rings found belonged to victims and rescue workers who died that day; a testament to the heroism of Irish-American firefighters and policemen.
In September 2003, a 911 memorial was unveiled by the Mayor of Kildare, Micheal Fitzpatrick. The memorial is dedicated to the memory of the 344, first responders and other public servants who lost their lives during the attacks. The ceremony was attended by a large gathering of many hundreds, including many from the New York emergency and rescue services, as well as other dignitaries, all of whom paid tribute to those who lost their lives.
The memorial is in special tribute to Sean Tallon, a young Irish-American who joined the New York Fire Department as a Fire Fighter. Along with 343 of his colleagues, and members of other emergency services, he died on September 11, 2001 in the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre. His father was born in Donadea, and Sean kept close connections with his grandmother. His relatives and friends still live in the community. Donadea 9/11 Committee was inspired to commission and erect the Memorial, in his memory, and in memory of all those who died.
The memorial is a scaled replica of the Twin Towers carved in local limestone. The twin blocks carry the engraved names of all the of the New York Fire Department, Police Officers Port Authority officials who died at the Twin Towers.
The Memorial is set in a specially prepared copse of newly planted native Oak saplings. These oak saplings will grow to maturity, and will live for well over a hundred years.