Irish tattoos come in a great variety of styles, stemming from the rich and varied artistic traditions that are part of Irish cultures. The Irish have a soulful, spiritual and very colorful culture - and Irish tattoos reflect the full spectrum of it. From Celtic tattoos to the classic Claddagh heart, to religious tattoos such as the Celtic cross, these tattoos are a great way to celebrate your appreciation for Irish and Celtic heritage.
A Celtic Cross Tattoo
Irish culture, as we know it today, is the result of several distinct influences -all of which are reflected in Irish tattoos and other related tattoo designs. The earliest, and in some ways still the strongest, Irish influence is Celtic culture. The Celts were an ancient people who once lived throughout Europe, settling in the British Isles around the time of the early Roman Empire. The Celts had a fabulous body of art, consisting of beautiful and complex knotwork and stylized images taken from nature. The most popular type of Irish tattoo is the Celtic tattoo. These tattoo designs are very well suited to a bold, black tattoo.
The Irish are very well aware of their Celtic heritage, and they celebrate it in a variety of ways. However, many Irish are also very religious, and there are many religious tattoos that are also representative of Irish culture. Irish Catholics are usually well versed in the lives of the saints, for example, and though 'saint' tattoos might be more typical of Hispanic tattoos, you do find these images among Irish tattoos as well. Of course, there is also the beautiful Celtic cross, which represents an amalgamation of Celtic and Christian imagery.
The third type of Irish tattoo is one that reflects Irish folklore, which is related to both the Celtic and Christian traditions, yet distinct from both. Irish tattoos that represent Irish folklore consist of images that we customarily identify as 'typically' Irish - the shamrock, the leprechaun, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. These tattoo designs have a timeless, popular appeal, as does the classic 'Claddagh heart', and image consisting of a heart, two hands and a crown. You may have seen this heart as part of a jewelry image - it's a popular Irish ring. The Irish are very patriotic, and tend to be rather sentimental about their love for their culture - which would explain the growing popularity of Irish tattoos.
Source : http://www.freetattoodesigns.org/irish-tattoos.html