St Valentine & Dublin – you won’t believe the connection!

Relics of St. Valetine - Dublin's Well-Kept Secret

Saint Valentines and Dublin: Did you know about this unique connection?!


Engaged couple being blessed at shrine of St Valentine in Dublin.
Engaged couple being blessed at shrine of St Valentine in Dublin.

Saint Valentine is globally known as the patron saint of love and lovers, but only a handful know that the remains of St. Valentine have been stored in Dublin’s Whitefriar Street Church since 1836.

Who is Saint Valentine & why are his remains in Dublin? 


Turns our Saint Valentine is not what you imagine him to be: a chubby baby with little angle wings! 

Saint Valentine was a kind-hearted Roman priest who married young lovers against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II.

The patron saint’s remains were given to Fr John Spratt by Pope Gregory XV as a token of esteem.

On Father Spratts return to Ireland’s capital in 1836, St Valentine’s remains were brought in a procession through the streets of Dublin to Whitefriar Street Church. Large crowds turned out to see this take place and the remains were received by the Archbishop of Dublin.

Saint Valentine's Final Resting Place in Dublin
Saint Valentine’s Final Resting Place in Dublin

To honour the patron of love a special side altar and shrine were built to house St Valentine’s remains. People and lovers from all over the country come to pay their respects and to pray before him.

Let's light a candle to Saint Valentine
Let’s light a candle to Saint Valentine

It is a known fact that many come to pray to the saint to help them find their significant other. The Shrine is also visited throughout the year by couples who come to pray to Valentine and to ask him to watch over them in their lives together.

The black casket which contains St Valentines remains is kept in a niche under the altar which is secured by a gate. On top of the casket is the coat of arms of Pope Gregory XVI inscribed with the words “This Shrine contains the sacred body of Saint Valentinus (Valentine) the Martyr, together with a small vessel said to be tinged with the saints blood.”

Detail of Saint Valentine's Shrine
Detail of Saint Valentine’s Shrine

Isn’t Valentine’s Day just a commercial Holiday?

Even though the western world has deeply commercialized the celebration of love, the origins of Valentine’s Day come from a place of true bravery & nobility.

St Valentine became the patron saint of love because despite the orders of Claudius II who banned marriage for any of his soldiers to stop them leaving the ranks, Valentine secretly still blessed the marriages of these soldiers. He was caught and beheaded on February 14 around 270 AD.

 Saint Valentine's Romance
Saint Valentine’s Romance

Can anyone visit to see the shrine?

Everyone is welcomed to the church to see the shrine for themselves and this is an especially popular thing to do on Valentine’s Day.

Each year on the 14th of February, the casket containing the remains of Saint Valentine is taken from the Shrine and placed before the high altar of the church for a special Saint Valentine’s mass.

The bones of Saint Valentine
The bones of Saint Valentine

Why is this not a popular tourist attraction?

Despite companies around the world cashing in on the romantic holiday, the Carmelite priests said they are staying well clear of the commercialization the holiday enforces, and they plan to keep sales of Valentine memorabilia to a minimum.

“We do want to keep it on a level that it’s not just ‘Valentine’s Day.’ That would diminish the significance of the saint,” said David Weakliam, another Carmelite priest.


For an alternative Valentine’s Day celebration, why not visit Whitefriar Church to be part of the annual Saint Valentine’s Mass? And if you’re single and looking for love, this might just be your time to say a prayer.

Juudit @ Valentina