1. St. Valentine in Dublin
Today is the Feast Day of St. Valentine, the Roman saint associated with courtly love and romance. But did you know that his remains are kept in a church in Dublin?
St. Valentine was beheaded and buried on February 14th 269 by Roman Emperor Claudius for refusing to renounce his Christian faith. His body remained in Rome until Pope Gregory decided to gift Spratt with the remains of St Valentine and a vial of his blood while on a visit to the Vatican.
The remains were contained in a small wooden box wrapped in a white ribbon. Fr Spratt arrived back in Ireland with the remains of St Valentine in November 1836.
Since that day, the remains of St Valentine have been on show for all to see in Whitefriar Street Church. So while the likes of Paris and Milan may consider themselves cities of love, it's Dublin that has St Valentine's actual remains.
Each year romantics visit the church on Valentine's Day to pray by the shrine.
2. The Claddagh
The Claddagh ring originates from the fishing village of Claddagh in County Galway and is a symbol of loyalty, love and friendship. Originally used as wedding rings, these rings are now an indicator of your relationship status, based on the way in which you wear it.
Single & looking for a relationship: wear it on your right hand with the point of the heart facing your fingertips
In a relationship: wear it on your right hand with the heart facing inwards
Engaged: wear it on your left hand with the point of the heart facing your fingertips
Married: wear in on your left hand with the heart facing inwards
It is common for our guests to buy a Claddagh ring when they visit Ireland as a beautiful reminder of their trip!
3. Leap Year Proposals
Another romantic Irish tradition is that of Leap Year proposals. It is said that St. Patrick and St. Brigid agreed that women could propose to their other halves on the 29th February, every 4 years! The Hollywood film Leap Year starring Amy Adams covers this topic.
4. Romantic Irish Poetry
Ireland has produced some of the finest playwrights and poets in the world, and their words are often quoted on Valentine's Day in cards and love letters. W.B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Oscar Wilde & James Joyce to name but a few, have all written some of the most recited romantic words in history, but here'd one of our favourites by Austin Clarke.
The Planter’s Daughter, by Austin Clarke
When night stirred at sea And the fire brought a crowd in, They say that her beauty Was music in mouth And few in the candlelight Thought her too proud, For the house of the planter Is known by the trees.
Men that had seen her Drank deep and were silent, The women were speaking Wherever she went – As a bell that is rung Or a wonder told shyly, And O she was the Sunday In every week.
5. Matchmaking Festival
Meeting your perfect match in rural Ireland was often difficult so Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival was created to bring singles together with music and dancing. The quiet town of Lisdoonvarna in County Clare still hosts it's world- famous matchmaking festival every September with hundreds of couples being matched up each year.
The festival is so great, even Christy Moore wrote his famous song all about it!
Why not come and see Ireland and it's romantic traditions for yourself?
Our group trip in September is selling fast...get in touch to book your place today!