By Natalie Harrison
When we think of Ireland, the holiday the holiday that comes to mind is St. Patrick’s Day. But did you know that Valentine’s Day also has an important connection to Ireland? In Dublin City Center, between the Swan Bar and the Embassy of Croatia, the rather unassuming looking Whitefriar Street Church holds the remains of Saint Valentine himself.
On February 14, 269 AD, the Roman Emperor Claudius ordered the beheading of Saint Valentine. His remains rested in Rome until the early 19th century when a loquacious Irish Carmelite priest named John Sprat visited Italy and enthralled the elite of Rome, including Pope Gregory XVI. The pope gifted the Irish priest an invaluable relic: part of Saint Valentine’s corporeal remains and a vial of his blood, together in a small box sealed with wax and tied with a white ribbon. Sprat brought the box back to Dublin’s Whitefriar Street Church in 1836, where they have remained ever since.
The wax-sealed and ribbon-tied box are housed in a larger casket in the church, along with a statue of Saint Valentine. Since they were placed on display to the public in the 1950s, this Whitefriar Street Church shrine to the patron saint of lovers (and beekeepers and epilepsy) has been visited by throngs of engaged and married couples from around the world seeking blessings for their union. It has also been visited by even more unsuccessful singles desperately seeking a bit more success in their romantic pursuits, perhaps hoping the combination of the heart of Saint Valentine and the luck of the Irish will do the trick.
Happy Valentine’s Day from the Irish Club of Alaska!
Pathways Virtual Art Exhibition by Bernie Joyce
Hi, my name is Bernie Joyce and I am a visual artist from Connemara. I am writing to let you know about my virtual exhibition Pathways which I launched online Easter Sunday and will continue until the end of the year. I thought that it might be of interest to the Irish diaspora abroad since the pandemic has kept families apart and from visiting Ireland. It has already been featured on the Board Fáilte, Discover Ireland website and I was wondering if you could show it on your social media platforms and websites.
The exhibition focuses on the Connemara peoples influence on Patrick Pearse as a teacher, writer and leader during the Celtic Revival and the lead up to the Easter Raising. By visiting the website link above, the viewer can roam through a gallery space and get up close to paintings in a socially distant, safe environment. There is a wealth of information, which gives a wide range of local history, that is available by clicking on the i in the upper right-hand corner when you’re “standing” in front of each image,. If you need more details, I have attached a document. Feel free to get in touch if you need more information.
Mise le meas
by Kate O'Dell
For Irish Club of Alaska Members,
Here’s an opportunity to learn Irish while we’re staying safe at home during the pandemic.
Orla Nig Fhearraigh, a qualified Irish-language teacher, is offering an online course for adult learners wishing to learn Irish. The course is aimed at beginners.
REGISTER HERE: https://forms.gle/LMeP7cc4ZywCBDBeA