There is no ‘1’ Celtic symbol for family, despite what some websites say.
However, there are numerous designs that fall into the ‘family Celtic symbols’ category, due to their meaning of either love, strength, unity or a combination of all three.
Below, you’ll find 5 ancient Celtic symbols that symbolise a close family bond.
Some quick need-to-knows about the Celtic Symbol for family
Choosing the right Celtic symbol for family can be difficult. Online searches can bring up a clatter of different options, with a lot of contradicting information and false designs. With that in mind, it’s worth going over the basics first.
1. Don’t believe most of what you see online
If you do a quick search online for family Celtic symbols, you’ll come up with a myriad of different designs. Almost all of them claim to be ancient Celtic family knots, but the truth is, a lot of them are recent inventions.
For example, the design above looks like a good ancient Celtic symbol for family, doesn’t is?! Alas, our artist whipped this up in a few minutes to help us illustrate this example.
2. There are authentic Celtic family knots
If you’re looking for an authentic ancient Gaelic family symbol, there are several to choose from that symbolise family. I’m talking about the Dara Knot, the Serch Bythol, the Triskelion, the Celtic Tree of Life and the Trinity Knot (see below).
3. It’s all about interpretation
The Celts left behind only a limited number of symbols and knots for us to ponder over. Their record-keeping game wasn’t great, so a lot of the information we have about Celtic symbols comes from small pieces of evidence and often a lot of speculation.
We do know that the Celts valued family bonds and community, and this is reflected in the designs below.
The Celtic Family Knots
So, which family Celtic symbols can you trust?! Below, we take you true the most accurate Celtic family knots along with their meanings.
There’s a mix of everything from father daughter knots to symbols that’ll suit tight-knit families.
1. The Trinity Knot
We know that the Celts believed that everything that mattered came in threes, and this Celtic family knot captures that perfectly.
With three ovals intertwined with one another, the Triquetra forms an endless flow, which is believed to represent eternity and the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
The three points of the Triquetra can mean a huge array of things. However, for some, the knot symbolises family, with the three points representing father, mother, and child.
In this interpretation, the endless flowing of the knot suggests an eternal family bond and the idea that family ties are unbreakable. This is, in our opinion, the most accurate Celtic symbol for family.
2. Celtic Tree of Life
The Celtic Tree of Life is at the centre of Celtic spirituality. The Celts worshipped trees and believed them to be gates to the Otherworld, connecting them with the spirits of their ancestors.
Trees were sacred and formed the focal point of most Celtic settlements, a place where rituals were carried out, meetings held, and festivities celebrated.
The Tree of Life is often drawn as a symmetrical symbol, with the roots reflecting the branches. Roots represent strength, while the circular design represents eternity and the Celtic belief that all are connected.
It’s a great Celtic symbol to represent family, showing that family roots keep us connected and give us strength throughout eternity.
3. The Triskelion
The Triskelion is perhaps one of the oldest symbols known to man. In fact, it even predates the Celts themselves. However, we know that they used the three-pointed spiral design extensively in stone carvings, metalwork, and various other crafts.
Like the Trinity Knot, it’s a celebration of the all-important number three, and has a wealth of meanings. The Triskelion also represents motion, the continuous momentum of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
Many believe the three points represent the mind, spirit, and body as they move forward through time.
In this way, the Triskelion can be seen as a symbol that captures the essence of the family; a shared, unbreakable bond that lasts forever. Few family Celtic symbols are as simple and as recognisable as this one.
4. Serch Bythol
This may be two lovers, but equally, it could symbolise an unbreakable family bond. The design is essentially two Trinity Knots joined together side-by-side.
Many believe the three points of the Trinity Knot to represent the mind, body, and spirit, tied together for all eternity by the unending, flowing intertwining of the pattern.
By joining two Trinity Knots together, it’s believed that you’re joining two individual souls together. If you’re looking for an elegant Irish symbol for family, this is worth considering.
5. Dara Knot
Looking at the Dara Knot, we can see how it represents the complex roots of an oak tree. This symbolises the common root that ties all Celts together as one large family, their souls bound for all eternity.
It also hints that their common root and unity are where they draw their strength from.
As such, it makes a superb choice for anyone looking for an authentic Gaelic family symbol. The complex design can relate to your own family roots, from which you draw strength, just like the Celts.
FAQs about family Celtic symbols
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘What is the Irish symbol for family?’ to ‘What’s the most accurate Celtic family knot?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What is the Celtic symbol for family?
There are several family Celtic symbols; the Triskelion, the Celtic Tree of Life and the Trinity Knot are three ancient Celtic family knots.
What is a good Irish symbol for family?
If you’re looking for a simple Gaelic family symbol, the likes of the Dara Knot or the Triquetra are good strong symbols with a wealth of meaning behind them (see our guide).
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.