Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’


In the midst of all the build up, the cards, the red paper hearts and pink and red balloons appearing in shop windows country-wide, I got to thinking about the fact that The Granny had brought me to visit St. Valentine once, many years ago. I thought given the week that’s in it, it was time to go back and say hello.

The remains of St. Valentine are housed in the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on Whitefriar Street in Dublin. They have been there since the 19th century but were only rediscovered in the 1950s during a renovation of the church. His remains, as well as a small vessel tinged with his blood, are beneath a small altar and a statue of him in a large alcove along the right hand side of the church. While I was there a few ladies and gents were cleaning and decorating the church. I was reminded of the lady in The Commitments scraping away at the candle wax in the foyer of the same church saying ‘If you wouldn’t do it for God, sure who would you do it for?’ Lol.

As I was standing admiring the altar and reading the visitors book for St. Valentine, one of the ladies came over with a bunch of beautiful red roses for it. I’m not sure if that’s the usual flower of choice or just this week. The visitors book is a funny thing…some people have put in prayers for help and guidance in their love lives.

“Please send my one true love St. Valentine, I’m ready now”.

A lady had put in a note to St. Valentine asking him to send her daughter someone cos “she’d love a boyfriend”. I guess Cupid and St. Valentine got mixed up somewhere along the way.


I was somewhat shocked to read the details beside the altar. In case you cannot read the text on the photo, it says:

St. Valentine was a holy priest
who lived in Rome
in the third century.
Having assisted the martyrs
in the persecution under
the Emperor Claudius II
he was taken prisoner in A.D. 268.
The Prefect of Rome tried
to induce Saint Valentine
to renounce his faith
but both his threats and
promises were in vain.
He then ordered that the saint
be beaten with clubs
and afterwards beheaded.
The sentence was carried out on

February 14th 290 A.D.

I’m not sure how the anniversary of the clubbing and beheading of a martyr became a cause for celebration but no doubt Mr. Hallmark and his cohorts have had a little something to do with the whole thing.

The remains of St. Valentine were gifted to an Irish preacher called Father John Spratt in 1835 in recognition of his wonderful preaching skills and they were received into the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel by Archbishop Murray on November 10, 1836*.

So when you are waking up to roses and chocolates and glasses of champagne and all sorts of random OTT-ness on Sunday morning, try to spare a thought for the humble origins of the day and poor oul’ Valentinus and his severed head 🙂

*You can read the full text of the story of how St. Valentine’s remains came to be in Dublin, below 🙂



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Halloween parties are looming large on the horizon and I have no costumes. At this stage, something homemade and inventive would be much preferable to a shop bought yoke.

I’m really of the opinion that Halloween is supposed to be scary or at the very least inventive so all those ladies who take the opportunity to wear as little as possible or the most outrageously sexy thing they can get away with and call it a ‘costume’ are really missing the point of Halloween, in my opinion.

I have a few ideas or have heard ideas from people, but it’d be nice to get a few home made costume ideas together here.


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I walked the length and breadth of Dublin city yesterday. For two bloody hours I searched for somewhere that I could have a desk, a seat and a nearby socket to plug in my laptop. It didn’t even need to have wifi cos I had a dongle with me.

“Simple”, I thought, “I’ll get a few bits done once I settle down somewhere”.

A moment of genius led me to the Central Library, free desk space! Alas, the student population of Dublin had beaten me to it with their funky mini laptops, for the free wifi no doubt. Free desks, none with sockets.

Café in Easons O’Connell Street-no visible sockets and they were trying to shun people by fencing off parts of the seating areas – at 4.30pm.

I moved on. Insomnia on Jervis Street? It’s a pretty big coffee shop and it was 90% empty, woohoo! But no, the 10% were all sitting up against the walls and in the corners, hiding…and hogging all tables with any chance of having sockets.


The Church…a nice big pub, surely with plenty of empty tables and sockets to be had at 4.45 or so on a Wednesday evening…apparently not. Again, not very busy but everyone was hiding in the corner tables.

On I trudged to my old reliable spot, crossing the river to the IFI. Which was shut for renovations. I almost cried. And I think in my dazed and confused state I wandered back across the river…I think, I’m not even sure now.

An emergency tweet or two and I had two invitations to go join some people – back on the southside – so off I went for a much needed sit down, a cup of tea, and a chat with some nice people.

I can’t believe how difficult it is to find a usable, temporary workspace in Dublin. Perhaps I just don’t know where to look…I’m going hunting so next time, I know exactly where to go!

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I took this photo on 25 September last. I wish I’d taken the time to get out my camera instead of using my phone camera but the view is still imprinted on my mind…the HD version, not this one 🙂


You’d never guess it was taken in the middle of St. Stephens Green in Dublin City Centre, would you?

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Carpet_Theatre__THE_BLANCH__photo_2_by_Emma_Haugh__pictured_Bryan_Burroughs_and_Amy_Conroy_detailBeing from ‘De Blanch’ as it is affectionately known, I was either going to love or hate a show based on the ‘loveliness’ of the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre and it’s frequenters. When I first saw Darraghs video from the launch of the Fringe Festival I thought this was one show I had to see. If nothing else, for the catchy theme tune 🙂

Billed as a ‘grotesque comedy about shopping’, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I knew there would be skits based on stereotypical skangers but wasn’t quite prepared for Orlagh and Enda, living on credit, driving a Pajero, with 2.4 children and a credit card bill as long as your arm.

To be honest, ‘The Blanch’ was my first ever Fringe Festival event. I expected things to be a bit rough round the edges, simple costumes, no sets, etc and that’s what we got. The material in places was spot on (the recording of the voice at the crossing is an exact copy and was a brilliant addition) and in other places, not so much. It’s a show that has huge potential to be great fun but it needs polishing and trimming. There are several scenes they could do without and the almost gratuitous violence against each other and (admittedly imaginary) children was just of no comedic value in my opinion, although the lady sitting next to me seemed to find it hilarious!


Enda and Orlagh

The show I saw was a preview so presumably things will be tightened up and changed around for the main run and hopefully they make the most of the real comedy potential in some of the sketches.

The cast were great with Amy Conroy in particular really stealing the limelight from the two lads. I’m not sure I know anyone that I’d recommend it to but I wish them all the best with the run in the Fringe and in the Axis, Ballymun after that.

If you want to look up The Blanch or any other Fringe Festival events, you can see them on the Fringe Festival website.

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Well a couple of weeks ago I was being surrounded by animals and animal stories, and the animal theme popped up again last week when I got the chance to go to Dublin Zoo to see the two new Sumatran tiger cubs there. Aww!

The as yet unnamed duo were born to mammy Sigra and daddy Kepala on 29 May last in Dublin Zoo, a male and a female fluffy pair of tiger cubs. On 29 July the family were put on display to the public for the first time.

Here’s a few photos of the little dotes and their parents, some good, some not so good!

You can see better photos on the official page on the Zoo’s website and also read a bit more about the endangered species family 🙂

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