What is Shamrock Tattoo Meaning in Jail?

Tattooing in prison has long been popular. Usually, tattoos made in prison use equipment found around the prison environment. Through these tattoos, the inmates can express and convey gang membership, personal attributes, degree of crime, rebellion, disregard for authority, and hidden meanings of the inmate’s origins or criminal deeds. Apparently, there are many tattoo designs that are popular in the prison environment. One of them is the Shamrock tattoo. Let’s find out the meaning of Shamrock tattoos in Prison.

The History of Shamrock Tattoo

The word shamrock comes from the Irish word searmóg, which means “young clover”. Remember that the clover in the Shamrock tattoo has three leaves. Sometimes, a four-leaf clover is also called a shamrock, but that is not correct. Remember that the traditional Shamrock is always a three-leaf clover. Simply, we can say that although all shamrocks are clovers, but not all clovers are shamrocks.

So, what is its history? The history of the shamrock dates back to ancient Ireland. At that time the Druids considered the shamrock to be a sacred plant. The Druids thought that the number three had magical powers. Also, they thought that the shamrock, which has three leaves, had the power to protect and heal. Three-leaf clover, Latinized Trifolium dubium, is a small yellow-flowered clover native to Ireland, and is usually associated with the shamrock. Wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) and several other types of clover are also referred to as shamrocks.

Shamrock Tattoo Meanings

Shamrock tattoos have several meanings. The meaning depends on the individual wearing the tattoo and the context of the other body art that appears.

1. Irish or Celtic Culture

Irish nationality or Irish heritage is the most famous shamrock tattoo meaning. The shamrock always reminds us of anything related to Ireland. As it turns out, there is a long-standing fascination between Irish and Celtic culture. In fact, it also applies to those who are not of Irish or Celtic descent. According to research, the shamrock has been the unofficial flower of Ireland for centuries. In Victorian England, the Government banned Irish soldiers from wearing shamrocks. Naturally, this made the shamrock an established symbol for the Irish people. Therefore, it is no wonder that the shamrock is closely associated with Ireland and Irish culture.

Through shamrock tattoos, Irish people and Irish descendants often express their identity. In these tattoos, they combine it with the inclusion of the flag, the colors of the Irish flag, or other symbols of Ireland such as the harp which is the official symbol of Ireland. In addition, sometimes. Celtic elements are also combined with shamrock tattoos so as to pay tribute to the Celts, who arrived in Ireland around 500 BC.

2. Religious Symbolism

Shamrock tattoos also have religious symbolism meaning. The shamrock has three leaves. The number three is considered a “holy” number. Hence, a shamrock tattoo contains a spiritual or supernatural aspect to it. A shamrock tattoo symbolizes the Holy Trinity, with each clover of the three traditional clover leaves symbolizing one of the Holy Father, Holy Son, and Holy Ghost.

Historically, Saint Patrick used three shamrock leaves to show how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate things, but they remain one divine essence. Later, the comparison struck a chord with the Irish people, and the shamrock became a symbol of Christianity, faith, and loyalty. In addition, shamrock tattoos also symbolize elements of biblical scripture. Each clover symbolizes faith, hope, and love. So, we can say that shamrock tattoos have several different meanings, depending on the individual wearing the tattoo.

Shamrock Tattoo Meaning in Jail

In jail, many inmates tattoo themselves using Shamrock tattoo designs. Through tattoos, they express many things, including gang membership and personal attributes. By the way, what does the Shamrock tattoo mean in Prison? When you visit prisons in America, maybe you have seen prisoners with Shamrock tattoos on their bodies. For information, in American prisons, Shamrock tattoos are usually worn by members of the Aryan Brotherhood. This Shamrock tattoo depicts neo-Nazi ideology combined with their ideas of white supremacy. Members of the Aryan Brotherhood are known as AB, Alice Baker, and the Brand.

Need to note that the Aryan Brotherhood is a group of white supremacist prison gangs located in San Quentin prison, California. The gang was founded in 1967. At that time, the Aryan Brotherhood gang was attacked. This gang was formed to protect against attacks by Mexican and black convicts. According to research data, the Aryan Brotherhood gang makes up less than 0.1% of the prison population. Despite this, they are responsible for 30% of murders in the federal system.

Shamrock tattoos are an iconic symbol of Irish heritage and culture. We can see this from St. Patrick who uses the Erin Go Bragh flag as a symbol of Irish identity. We can also see shamrock tattoos on Irish sports team uniforms. The use of shamrock tattoos as a symbol of Irish identity seems to date back a long way. However, sometimes, some people get confused about traditional shamrocks. Also, some people confuse shamrock tattoos with four-leaf clovers.

Styles of Shamrock Tattoo

There are several different styles of shamrock tattoos. The shamrock tattoo style refers to the artistry involved in its development and creation.

Here are some of the most common shamrock tattoo styles:

      • Black-work shamrock tattoosBlack-work shamrock tattoos
        • Color shamrock tattoos
          Color shamrock tattoos
        • Abstract shamrock tattoos
          Abstract shamrock tattoos

Black-work, a tattoo style is created using only black ink. Tattoos can appear in the form of simple line drawings, silhouettes, or with aspects of realism. Most people like this tattoo style because it often produces a minimalist yet beautiful look. When making a shamrock tattoo, there are many color choices that can be used. However, the main color is green. Shamrock tattoos can be made with one color or several colors to create shadows and give dimension to the image. Meanwhile, shamrock color tattoos have a brighter, more energetic and fun tone. Some color style tattoos have thick lines, but you can get them without them.

Shamrocks and Gang Culture

Shamrock tattoos are generally seen as a positive symbol. However, there is a special connection between shamrock tattoos and gang culture. At least, before you decide to get a shamrock tattoo on your body, you can make a wise decision. Like other tattoos, in certain contexts the meaning of shamrock tattoos can also be negative. We know that the shamrock tattoo is a popular tattoo worn by members of the Aryan Brotherhood, which is a white supremacist gang in the country. The gang was formed in the 1960s in the California prison system.

Shamrock tattoos depicting individuals as part of the Aryan Brotherhood are usually larger in size, and also include other tattoos such as the letter “AB”, the number 12 (representing “A” as the first letter and “B” as the second letter), swastikas, the number 666 , or double lightning bolt. Apart from that, there are also those who wear shamrock tattoos by combining them with numbers, letters or symbols of the Aryan Brotherhood. In prison, many inmates wear shamrock tattoos to announce that they are part of the gang.

Examples of Shamrock Tattoos

When you decide to wear a Shamrock tattoo, you are free to design the Shamrock tattoo you want. In essence, you are free to be creative. If you don’t want to wear a traditional Shamrock tattoo. You can make one more beautiful and modern. Here are some examples of Shamrock tattoos:

1. Black Ink Shamrocks

Black Ink Shamrocks Tattoo

Black Ink Shamrock is an example of a shamrock tattoo that has a simple and classic impression. The design of this shamrock image is reminiscent of vintage botanical book illustrations. This Black Ink Shamrock is also contemporary in style. The thicker single lines that form the leaves and stems give a slightly feminine feel to the tattoo image. You can also choose a simple, subtle design that highlights the natural beauty of the shamrock. This would be a beautiful tattoo to wear on the inside of the wrist or just behind the ear.

2. Color Shamrocks

Color Shamrocks Tattoo

This shamrock tattoo image is made in an anaglyph art style. The use of two green colors gives this shamrock a different impression compared to black and white. This shamrock image is made in a cartoon style, adding a sense of humor to the meaning of the shamrock tattoo. This tattoo image is made like a handmade shamrock. This could be the perfect shamrock tattoo design for you. You can place this shamrock tattoo image on a larger part of the body such as the arm, leg, body or back.

3. Celtic Shamrocks

Celtic Shamrocks Tattoo

There are several ways you can give shamrocks a Celtic feel. You can use a variety of pretty colors to create shamrock designs and three-leaf clovers with Celtic knots on the leaves. If you choose green shades, then this will be a unique shamrock tattoo. This example of a shamrock design with Celtic ornate details will certainly make a very beautiful and ornate shamrock tattoo. Celtic style shamrocks have a historical feel. And, this tattoo design will look great as a tattoo with or without the shadow details behind it

4. Abstract Shamrocks

Abstract shamrock tattoos

The next example of a shamrock tattoo image is an abstract shamrock. The tattoo image in this example of a shamrock tattoo design does not have to be drawn clearly. There are several examples of abstract shamrock tattoo images that you can choose from. Typically, tattoo artists can have fun using designs that give the impression of a shamrock shape. In jail or other correctional facilities, you may ever see the inmates who wear shamrock tattoos with abstract designs. Yes, this kind of tattoo is also often worn by prisoners. In creating this image design, you can choose to make green circles that overlap to form a shamrock.

5. Forearm and Wrist Shamrock Tattoos

Forearm and Wrist Shamrock Tattoos

If you prefer a small shamrock tattoo, then you can consider getting a tattoo of this style on your wrist or arm. Additionally, you can also choose from a variety of Celtic knot tattoo designs, such as a row of small shamrocks forming a bracelet, a single shamrock surrounded by Celtic knots, or shamrocks added to an existing tattoo design.

6. Watercolor Shamrock Tattoos

Watercolor Shamrock Tattoos

This example tattoo design adds a splash of color and creativity to the classic shamrock. This gives it a more artistic look. Usually, this shamrock tattoo style has soft colors that make the shamrock tattoo look like a painting. Additionally, watercolor shamrock tattoos can also have simple and smooth lines filled with bright green shades. You can also choose to go for a more abstract shamrock tattoo and show the leaves as patches of color. For those of you who like Irish culture, this shamrock tattoo design will definitely suit you.

7. Shamrock Tattoos with Quotes or Text

Shamrock Tattoos with Quotes or Text

You can place a meaningful quote or phrase next to your shamrock tattoo to give it a more personal and meaningful touch. If you decide to try this example of a shamrock tattoo, then you can pick a quote about your Irish heritage or a traditional blessing. Or, you can also choose your family motto or favorite quote to place next to your shamrock tattoo. You are free to choose the type of font, from classic fonts to modern fonts.


Shamrock tattoos have a number of meanings. The meaning depends on the individual wearing the tattoo and the context in which the other body art appears. Irish nationality or Irish heritage is the most famous shamrock tattoo meaning. Shamrock tattoos also have religious symbolism. Shamrock tattoos have three leaves and the number three is considered a “holy” number. In American prisons, Shamrock tattoos are commonly worn by members of the Aryan Brotherhood. This Shamrock tattoo depicts neo-Nazi ideology combined with their ideas of white supremacy. Members of the Aryan Brotherhood are known as AB, Alice Baker, and Brand. Aryan Brotherhood is a group of white supremacist prison gangs located in San Quentin prison, California. The gang was founded in 1967. Meanwhile, in Irish prisons, Shamrock tattoos depict three things; hope, faith, and love.

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