First day of February can only mean one thing.... the countdown is on for the most romantic day of the year.
An abundance of castles & monasteries, the wild countryside, rural pubs with intimate settings against the backdrop of a crackling fire, these are just of the reasons that make Ireland the perfect romantic setting to celebrate Valentines Day.
However, did you know that Ireland is also the resting place for the patron saint of lovers?
The story of Saint Valentine dates back to the Roman era, when an anti-christian Emperor forbade couples to be married. The legend tells it that a priest named Valentine defied the emperor by performing a number of marriage ceremonies before being caught . Valentine was sentenced to death and executed on February 14, 269AD.
A few centuries later, February 14 was officially renamed as Saint Valentines Day by the Roman Church.
Fast forward to the the 1800's, a very popular Irish priest was visiting Rome where as a gift of appreciation, he received the shrine of Saint Valentine.
On his return to Ireland, the priest chose Our Lady of Mount Carmel's Church, situated in Dublin as the final resting place for the patron saint of lovers.
Since then, the shrine has become a must-stop for couples who ask the saint to bless their relationship and each February 14, a special mass takes place for couples and all of those still looking for love.