For Valentine’s Day this year we are working on a project called ‘Spreading the Love’. This project consists of placing small love hearts, with nice massages written on them, around town. Our hope is that people may happen upon these hearts, read their messages and be filled with a little love. This may then inspired them to share the love themselves that day and thus start an unending chain of positive thinking and living.
While on an art trip into town, to visit the National Gallery and The Whitefrair Street Church (where the remains of St. Valentine are kept), we left some more of our love hearts around the city.
“We went to see St. Valentine’s remains in a church. We had a look around the church and left a message in the book beside St. Valentine’s statue. While we were walking around town we also placed some of our love hearts, from our project called ‘Spreading the Love’, around the place.” – Louise Donnelly
We visited the Whitefrair Street Church because of it’s strong connection to Valentine’s Day.
This church contains a shrine dedicated to St. Valentine. Beneath a statue, depicting the saint, you will see an altar which houses the remains of St. Valentine.
They were given to an Irish Carmelite by the name of John Spratt in 1835 by Pope Gregory XVI. In 1836 they were brought to Whitefriar Street Church. After Fr. John Spratt’s death interest in the relic died away and they were put into storage. However after some renovation work in the 1950s/60s they were once again put on display with the church.
The shrine is quite popular with couples on St. Valentine’s day when a special mass is said and wedding or engagement rings are blessed.
Information about this shrine is not widely known and for most it is a hidden treasure. Regeneration in the local area is trying to highly this potentially popular tourist attraction. Directly across the road (on York Street) you can see evidence of people trying to spread the theme of love in this area.
In another community project they are looking at the streets surrounding and adjoining to Aungier Street and found that they almost form a pattern that is like an anatomically correct heart, with the Whitefrair Street Church smack bang in the middle.
“I thought that the chapel was lovely. We left a message to St. Valentine in a book beside the statue. I left a special message for my secret boyfriend in work.” – Pauline Rush
“I loved the layout of the church and the way that they had a book for writing your messages in. I used to call in there with my aunt, when I lived with her. It brought back some lovely memories”- Maureen Rooney
“I love them real old churches…It was very good.” – Cornelius O’Callaghan
“I thought that it was absolutely brilliant yesterday!! Putting the love hearts around town was great fun. I didn’t even know that that church existed! I loved seeing the statue for St. Valentines and I left a message in the book saying thank you for all the love in my life. I was so inspired by the theme of love that day that I wrote a poem while sitting in the church.” – Suzanne Hyland
Love is all around
Love can be down,
Love can be up,
Love can be in hearts,
Love can be in shapes,
Love can be in hands,
Love can be in the sky,
Love you can found in books.
By Suzanne Hyland