Friday, 05, February 2016

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Written by
Nicola Brady

Pay a visit to St Valentine in Dublin

The saint's remains reside in the middle of the city.

Visit St Valentine's Shrine in Dublin's Whitefriar Street Church, by The Westbury hotel.

Picture by William Murphy

Romance is in the air. Look around and you’ll likely spot an increase of red roses, chocolate-dipped strawberries and a plethora of heart shaped fripperies. But while the world gears up for Valentine’s Day, the actual remains of the saint himself rest in Dublin.

The Shrine of St Valentine is in the Whitefriar Street Church, on Whitefriar Street. When you enter the church, the remains are on the right, in a casket beneath a marble altar. Above, you’ll see a life-sized statue of Saint Valentine. On the casket, you’ll find the following inscription…

“This shrine contains the sacred body of Saint Valentinus the Martyr, together with a small vessel tinged with his blood.”

The Whitefriar Street Church is home to St Valentine, by The Westbury hotel in Dublin.

Picture by William Murphy

So how did the remains end up in Dublin? In 1835, the Irish preacher John Spratt was visiting Rome. He was well known for his work with the poor in the Liberties, and he also built the Our Lady of Mount Carmel church at Whitefriar Street. While he was in Rome, his preaching was incredibly popular, and he was given many tokens. One of which was from Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846) – the remains of Saint Valentine.

Each year on Valentine’s Day, the remains are moved to the main altar for a special Mass. Though it’s one of the busiest days to visit the church, it’s also one of the most poignant, and a fitting way to celebrate the day.

The church is just a few minutes walk from The Westbury, which has a wonderful luxury overnight experience available. ‘Romance in the Heart of Dublin’ includes…

  • Overnight accommodation in a beautifully appointed bedroom or suite.
  • Chilled bottle of champagne, strawberries & chocolates on arrival.
  • Rose petal-adorned turndown.
  • Full Irish Breakfast in bed from Wilde – The Restaurant. 

The package starts from €260 per night. See more on The Westbury page.  

See more about the Whitefriar Street Church and the shrine of St Valentine here