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Saint Valentine and Ireland

St. Valentine

Saint Valentine was a widely recognized 3rd-century Roman saint, commemorated in Christianity on February 14. He is also a patron saint of epilepsy and bee-keeping.

There are many stories that associate St. Valentine with Love.
One such story is that he was arrested in Rome for marrying Christian couples. While under house arrest of Judge Asterius, Valentine was discussing religion and Christianity as the true way forward. The judge put Valentine to the test and brought to him the judge’s adopted blind daughter. If Valentine succeeded in restoring the girl’s sight, Asterius would do whatever he asked. Valentine succeeded! Immediately humbled, the judge asked Valentine what he should do. Valentine replied that the judge undergo the Christian sacrament of baptism. The judge obeyed and freed all the Christian inmates under his authority.

Many years later Valentine was again arrested for continuing to evangelize and was sent to the emperor of Rome; Claudius Gothicus (Claudius II). Claudius took a liking to him until Valentine tried to convince Claudius to embrace Christianity. Claudius refused and commanded that Valentine either renounce his faith or he would be beaten with clubs and beheaded. Valentine refused and he was executed outside the Flaminian Gate February 14, 269.

It is said that on his execution day, St Valentine sent the once-blind but now cured judge’s daughter a note that was signed “Your Valentine”. This is perhaps the origins of todays expression of love “Your Valentine”.

St. Valentine was buried at Rome, and later his body exhumed and his relics were venerated. The skull of St. Valentine is exhibited in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome, and other relics of his body can be found at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church, Dublin, Ireland.

In 1835 the Very Reverend Father John Spratt, Master of Sacred Theology to the Carmelite order in Dublin, visited Rome. He was well renowned for his powers as a preacher, Pope Gregory XVI decided to make his Church a gift of St Valentine’s body. The remains, which include “a small vessel tinged with his blood”, were sent as a token of esteem following an eloquent sermon Fr Spratt had delivered in Rome.

 On Saint Valentine’s Day in Ireland, many individuals who seek true love make a Christian pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. Valentine in Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin. They pray at the shrine in hope of finding romance There lies a book in which foreigners and locals have written their prayer requests for love.

St Valentine Shrine, Dublin Ireland

Shrine of St. Valentine.
Whitefriar Street Church, Dublin, Ireland.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day, also called St. Valentine’s Day, holiday (February 14) when lovers express their affection with greetings and gifts. 

The holiday has expanded to express affection between relatives and friends.

The Claddagh Ring

The Claddagh Ring – a symbol of love in Ireland and around the world. It symbolises love, loyalty and friendship.

How its worn  indicates relationship status:

  • On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips: the wearer is single and may be looking for love.
  • On the right hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist: the wearer is in a relationship.
  • On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the fingertips: the wearer is engaged.
  • On the left hand with the point of the heart toward the wrist: the wearer is married.

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