The city of Dublin serves as the capital of the Irish Republic and is located on the east coast of Ireland at the mouth of the River Liffey. Home to Dublin Castle built in the 13th century and the towering St. Patrick’s Cathedral was established in 1191. Both of these structures are considered historic buildings. St. Stephen’s Green and the enormous Phoenix Park, which is home to Dublin Zoo, are both examples of city parks in Dublin. The National Museum of Ireland is dedicated to examining the history and culture of Ireland. But did you know Dublin is also the home of St. Valentine’s relics where engaged couples venture to get their wedding bands, hopefully, Celtic wedding rings blessed?
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church towers over Dublin City Center. Thousands pass it regularly, yet we bet most don’t know the building’s renowned historical personality. You’d probably answer Saint Patrick, but it’s another Saint you generally don’t identify with within Ireland. It is Saint Valentino the patron saint of lovers!
Where exactly in Dublin might one find the remains of Saint Valentine?
Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin is home to the relics of Saint Valentine, who was executed for his faith and later beheaded. Every year on February 14 and in the days and weeks preceding Valentine’s Day, tourists swarm to the shrine of St. Valentine which is located in the Carmelite Church on Whitefriar Street in Dublin.
A Look Back at the Origins of Valentine’s Day
Saint Valentine was a Roman priest who was executed in the year 270 A.D. for marrying couples against the wishes of the emperor, who had prohibited marriage in order to ensure that he had enough men to maintain his troops strong. Saint Valentine is known as the patron saint of love as well as beekeepers.
A couple of hundred years later, on February 14th, a feast day was established in honor of Saint Valentine by Pope Clement V. However, it wasn’t until much later that St. Valentine’s Day became so closely connected with romantic love.
On Valentine’s Day in the 18th century, our friends from North America promoted the practice of exchanging modest gifts, chocolates, and letters with one another. The adoption of this method did not occur in Ireland for another approximately hundred years.
Today, Valentine’s Day is celebrated as a secular holiday all throughout the world, and the custom of celebrating the day with greeting cards, presents, and other expressions of love is widespread.
But how did Ireland come to be identified with Saint Valentine, who is considered to be the patron saint of love?
The History of Saint Valentine’s Arrival in Dublin
In the year 1835, the Irish Carmelite priest known as Father John Spratt was given the opportunity to preach in Rome. Because the villagers were so impressed with his oratory, the Pope bestowed upon him a number of unusual symbols of gratitude, one of which was a collection of holy relics. After returning to Dublin, Father Spratt presented these presents to Our Lady of Mount Carmel on Whitefriar Street. The church is located in Dublin. There are even presents that have Saint Valentine’s own preserved heart!
Relics of this kind are revered by those who follow a religion. And despite the fact that a sacred heart would seem like an item that would be difficult to misplace, this relic was misplaced and wasn’t found again until the 1940s. The heart is currently kept in a prominent location in the Church, where it is guarded by a golden box and can be viewed by anybody who is interested.
Valentine’s Day Blessing of the Rings
And to this very day, on February 14 of each year, betrothed couples in love continue to visit the chapel in order to get a unique and special “blessing of the rings” for their wedding.
Irish Gifts for Valentine’s Day
Perhaps this year you won’t be able to make it to St. Valentine’s Basilica, but you can still celebrate the romantic holiday by giving your loved one a thoughtful Irish gift steeped in meaning and tradition instead. Even the most difficult-to-please Valentine’s heart may be won over by one of the many exquisitely designed pieces of romantic Irish jewelry that we have available in our large collection.
Why the Claddagh Ring makes a great Valentine’s Day Gift
The Claddagh is a hallmark of Irish culture that may be found all over the world. The Claddagh ring is the ultimate symbol of enduring love and affection. One of the most popular choices for a promise ring is the Irish Claddagh, which was designed after the ancient Roman “Fede” and medieval Gimmel rings. Love is represented by the heart, friendship is represented by the hands, and loyalty is represented by the crown.