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 14 278 AD, 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, working as a Christian priest, had continued to marry couples in private in defiance of the emperor and paid for it with his life.

St Valentine’s Irish Resting Place

Irish valentine's day traditions
Interior of Whitefriar Street Church

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.’

When is St Valentine’s Day in Ireland 2023?

Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 14th of February and this year it’s a Tuesday! 

A Traditional Irish Love(!) Song for St Valentine’s Day

There are hardly any happy love songs in the Irish tradition but this song is so sweet that we think your loved one won’t protest should you sing it in their ear, although watch out for the ‘unsweet’ language halfway through! It’s called ‘Do You Love an Apple’.

This best loved version is this version by The Bothy Band with Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill’s stunning voice adding a layer of poignant beauty.

Patron Saint of Fainting and Beekeepers

St. Valentine is also the patron saint of happy marriages, fainting, beekeepers, love, plague and epilepsy.

Marriage Proposals in Dublin

Marriage proposals have been made at Whitefriar St. and it’s common for newly engaged couples to come here on Valentine’s day. If you’ve ever needed an excuse to make a romantic visit to Dublin you’ve got it! It also makes for a unique Valentine’s Day date.

Leap Year Irish Proposal Tradition

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.

So you’ll have to wait ’til next year (2024), ladies! 

Further Reading: http://www.carmelites.ie/stvalentine.html

Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts

Why not give the gift of Irish music to your loved one this year? It certainly makes for something a little more meaningful and special than the roses and chocolates (although don’t let me stop you!).

We’ve a fantastic range of special offers on musical instruments suitable for all levels of musician. 

Shop Musical Valentine’s Gifts

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

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