Related posts: Valentine’s Day 2011 in Ireland.
Certain elements of Ireland’s identity and history play to romance. The wet, cobblestone streets, mythic love triangles and a sense of piety have always brought out a delight in love stories and the feeling that Ireland is a place for lovers. And reading the lyrical lines of a poem like Yeats’s The Ragged Wood leaves little suspicion that there isn’t some special romance about Ireland.
All of those cliches aside, though, there are plenty of romantic antics to get up to in Ireland this 2010 Valentine’s Day, and here are a few.
Take in a gig, concert, movie or play.
In a country that is famous for its arts and romantic tendencies, there are always plenty of artsy things to do for Valentine’s Day. This year, check out the velvet tunes of Nat King Cole in “When I Fall in Love”, performed by Allan Harris and the RTÉ Orchestra & Big Band at the National Concert Hall. At the Pavilion Theatre in Dublin, listen to romantic gypsy violin by The Cafe Orchestra or learn about Ireland’s romantic heritage through the Roman Collection at the National Museum of Ireland.
The Abbey Theatre is providing a different take on Valentine’s Day this year with “My Bloody Valentine”, a collection of sonnets and soliloquies from Shakespeare’s lovers and murderers.
In Belfast, take in a matinee showing of the classic love story, Casablanca at the Queens Film Theatre.
Explore Ireland’s mythical romances.
Irish legends are full of romance and intrigue, from the romantic tale of Oisín and Niamh who travel together to Tír na nÓg, the land of youth, to the love triangle of Fionn mac Cumhaill, Gráinne and Diarmuid. Slievenamon, a mountain in Co. Tipperary, was the mythical site where Fionn decided to choose his bride from a group of women who raced to the top to meet him. The first to reach the summit was Gráinne, who went on to fall in love with Diarmuid and engage in a thrilling love triangle. The views from Slievenamon are some of the most stunning in the county.
In Co. Armagh, take your lover to Tannaghmorre Gardens, home of the Kissing Gate, where it is said that couples who kiss over the gate will marry within a year. Likewise, in Co. Antrim you’ll find the Holestone Marriage Stone, an ancient rock with a mysterious hole. Truly committed couples can partake in the ancient tradition whereby a woman puts her hand through the stone and her partner takes it on the others side, taking an eternal pledge to each other.
It is also a little known fact that the purported remains of St. Valentine himself are kept at the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church. On February 14, the shrine of St. Valentine is moved to the high alter and masses include a special Blessing of the Rings ceremony for those that are soon to be married.
Hole up in a secluded hotel.
Plenty of hotels and B&Bs around the country are offering lovely Valentine’s Day specials. Harvey’s Point Hotel overlooking Lough Eske in the romantic wilds of Donegal is offering a special suite and dinner package for two. Or escape to the delightful village of Claregalway, Co. Galway, where the Claregalway Hotel offers a romantic Valentine’s break that includes an overnight stay and a romantic dinner. If these don’t interest you, there are plenty of options from a fancy lovers city break in Dublin to a rustic beachside getaway in Cork or Waterford.
Have an anti-Valentine’s celebration.
If you just can’t stand all the cheesy Valentine’s day hooha, get out of the romantic spirit in Cork City. Rock band My Evil Ex is hosting an album launch at the Pavilion for their new record, Lust, a collection of “thirteen songs that kick love in the guts and run away with its money”. This will be a good time to escape the syrupy couple-dominated events of a typical Valentine’s Day and kick back to hear some good music.
by Megan Eaves