St Valentine’s Day: The Dublin Connection
While there are not a whole lot of definitive accounts of St Valentine’s life in the 3rd century AD, it is believed that on February 14 278AD, Valentine was beaten with clubs and then executed by beheading for defying a marriage and engagement ban put in place by Roman Emperor Claudius II. Valentine, then working as a Christian priest, continued to marry couples in private and paid for it with his life.
What you may not already know though, is that the St Valentine Story takes an Irish turn, all the way to a Dublin church in fact. In 1836 St Valentine’s remains were sent as a gift from Pope Gregory XVI to the 18th century Carmelite Church on Whitefriar St, Dublin. This gift was made in recognition of the work of the church’s former prior, Fr. John Spratt. The martyred saint’s remains were exhumed from his grave in the cemetery of St Hippolytus in Rome, placed in a golden casket and sent to Dublin. This casket, now alarmed, contains bones of St Valentine along with a vial of his blood.
A small inscription on the box reads: ‘This shrine contains the sacred body of Saint Valentinus the Martyr, together with a small vessel tinged with his blood.’
Marriage proposals have been made at Whitefriars St. and it’s common for newly engaged couples to come here on Valentine’s day; it also makes for a unique Valentine’s Day date!
St. Valentine is also the patron saint of happy marriages, fainting, beekeepers, love, plague and epilepsy.
If you’ve ever needed an excuse to make a romantic visit to Dublin you’ve got it! And, if you really want to set a date, know that every Leap Year, it is the custom in Ireland for the woman to propose marriage on the 29th February. Set your reminder for 2020, ladies!
Further Reading: http://www.carmelites.ie/stvalentine.html
Featured Image: William Murphy https://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/14301368816/in/photostream/
Image 1: Diliff [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons