It’s approaching that time of the year again – the one we remember from our tentative teenage years when we’d rush down the stairs in the morning eager to see if the postman had been with messages of romantic affection from a mysterious admirer. Moving to the breakfast table our mother would be sitting there with a huge padded Hallmark card in front of her cornflakes and an equally massive grin on her face. There might be the odd flimsy supermarket card for us if we were lucky. Ah Valentine’s Day – you can’t beat if for the Big Dipper of expectation and disappointment. However, now that you’re older, if you really want to treat your other half on Valentine’s Day then sure, send a card, but why not consider a weekend away in Dublin? We’re sure he or she would appreciate that. And it so happens that right here at the Sandymount Hotel we’re currently offering special dinner, bed and breakfast packages starting at just 114 Euro for two people for one night and 178 Euro for two nights. But why should you come to Dublin? Well there’s a very good reason. And that’s because Dublin is a bit of a lead player when it comes to St Valentine’s Day celebrations thanks to its very important city connection to this celebrated event. Who was St Valentine? First of all though – who was St Valentine and why does his name live on in a romantic connection to what is now the 21st Century? Well, the man himself was actually a Christian martyr who was unceremoniously beheaded in Rome around 269AD on February 14. Nothing romantic there! However, one of the theories of why the day of his death is linked to romance is because during the Middle Ages birds are believed to have sought their soul mate around this time – hence the period became associated with pairing and devotion. Dublin’s connection to this famous annual day Although cards have been sent to objects of fancy in Dublin since as early as the 16th century, it wasn’t until 1836 that a special ceremony in Dublin sealed the city’s connection to St Valentine. For it was in this year that Pope Gregory XVI sent the remains of the saint, in a small gold casket, to the Carmelite Church in the city’s Whitefriar Street. This was to be a gift to thank those at the church for their work. Until this time the remains of St Valentine had been sitting in a cemetery in Rome. The Pope ordered them to be exhumed. They were then enshrined in the Carmelite Church in Dublin. Now, every year on February 14 those remains are carried to the high altar of the Carmelite Church to feature as the centre point in a special mass dedicated to young lovers everywhere. There – you can’t get much more of a connection to St Valentine’s Day than that! Incidentally – you can also buy your valentine’s card at the church, making the token extra-romantic, we’re sure.
Susan is super passionate about hotels and in a past life was a travel writer and hotel critic. As a Dublin native she also loves everything about the city and wants to share her knowledge on all the best bits.