Valentine travelled to Ireland

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Invoking the innocence of early schooldays in Ireland, and our childish attempts at romantic rhyme – “Roses are red, violets are blue, the rainfall at night reminds of you (drip..drip)”.

Regular readers of our blogs and those who follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, will know we love sharing all things Irish in our own unique Anam Croí Ireland Tours way. And, we generally adhere to the great Irish tradition of ‘never letting the truth get in the way of a good story’. However, on this occasion, we’re dealing in fact. So, if you thought that this was going to be a guide to spending Valentine’s day in Dublin, I’m afraid you’ve fallen for our double entendre!

What we actually mean, is that St. Valentine literally is in Ireland. His remains have lain in the heart of Dublin since the 19th century. We’ll come back to that, but let’s first take a look at Valentine – man and tradition.

A Tradition Through the Ages

Ireland in your heart

Some (usually cheapskate boyfriends/partners/husbands😍) may hold that St. Valentine’s day is simply a lot of commercialised hogwash. An opportunity for card and flower retailers, restaurants and chocolate manufacturers to enhance profits. But it really does go so much deeper – it’s believed the tradition of lovers celebrating 14th February predates the foundation of Hallmark by some 600 years!

Hi Honey

The 14th February link is a rather unfortunate one, as it’s the date Valentine was put to death on the orders of Roman emperor Claudius, who had him arrested for marrying couples. Back then, newly married men were forbidden from travelling away for the first year of marriage, to enable them to do their part in starting a family. However, as this hampered the emperor’s efforts in mustering armies needed to bolster the empire, he banned marriage. Just as well the Romans never came to Ireland!

During his incarceration, Valentine began to educate the blind daughter of his jailer. The night before his execution he wrote a note to her, signing it ‘your Valentine’. When she opened the note, a crocus fell from within, and her sight was restored. The celebration of his feast day from a church perspective goes back to the very end of the 5th century. As well as lovers, St. Val is also the patron saint of bees.

Buzzing for gtravel to Ireland

From Rome to Dublin

During the 19th century, Dublin priest Fr. John Spratt, gave an oration in Rome. So impressed was Pope Gregory XVI, that as a token of appreciation, he presented him with the remains of St. Valentine. Spratt, renowned for his charitable works, went on to become one of the driving forces of the temperance movement. Yet, just a few months before his death, physicians prescribed alcohol as a cure for a gangrenous foot. He stout heartedly (‘scuse the pun) declined, stating that, having denounced alcohol for much of his lifetime, he would rather die than let it help him live a little longer.

Valentine travelled to Ireland

Remaining in Ireland

Valentine's in Ireland

St. Valentine’s remains/relics were brought to Whitefriars Street Church amid much pomp and ceremony in 1836. Unfortunately, after the demise of Fr. Spratt, they were virtually forgotten about until the church was being renovated in the 1950s, when they were placed in their current location. The statue above the casket carved at that time shows Valentine holding a crocus. The casket itself contains the seal of the Vatican, evidence of Ireland holding Valentine dear to our hearts.

Before or after your Anam Croí Ireland Tour

Saint Valentine is just one of the many unusual sights and stories one can stumble upon while rambling around Dublin before or after one of our great fully guided and fun tours of Ireland. Check out our brand new Wellness Tour of Ireland, our 12 day Ultimate All-Ireland Tour or one of our shorter six and seven day tours

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