My somewhat quirky views as I gaze at the world around me!

Posts tagged ‘Dublin’



Years ago, as I anticipated my first trip to Ireland, I knew that I would enjoy the Emerald Isle.  After all, I’d been hearing about it, reading about it, studying all I could about Ireland for my entire life.  I remember saying to my daughter on our first day in Dublin (as we were crossing the O’Connell Bridge over the River Liffey, in fact) that I would come back and spend at least a week in Dublin itself, even if I had to come alone.  So, I was half in love with Dublin and Ireland already.  What a blessing to then meet the love of my life in Dublin, end up moving to Ireland, gaining Irish citizenship, and, hopefully, spending the rest of my life here!  Do you think it’s because St Valentine‘s remains are in a small church in the center of Dublin?

St Valentine is buried in a Dublin church! 

Believe it or not, but the mortal remains of St Valentine – the patron saint of all lovers – are held in the Carmelite Church in Dublin’s Whitefriar Street (Dublin 2). Every February 14 the church gets plenty of visitors – mostly couples wishing to receive St Valentine’s blessing or just take a photo in front of the saint’s tomb. So how did his body end up in Dublin? The legend goes that Valentine was a priest who lived in Rome at the time of Emperor Claudius II. The emperor thought that single men made the best warriors so he forbid his soldiers to marry, but Valentine had a different idea – and he continued to marry soldiers in spite of the emperor’s orders. When his superiors found out Valentine was thrown in jail, tortured and executed. He later became a patron saint of lovers. But in 1835 an Irish Carmelite priest Father John Spratt visited Rome. According to the legend, he was such a good preacher that Pope Gregory XVI decided to make Fr Spratt’s Church a gift of St Valentine’s body. So the remains of Valentine were dug up from the Roman Cemetery of St Hippolitus and transferred to Dublin’s Whitefriar Street Church in 1836.       THANK YOU!


And another bit……

Happy Lupercalia‘s Day!
Valentine’s Day derives from a Christianized version of a pagan holiday. Just as the Christians stole Christmas and Easter, from the pagans, they took this celebration from the Roman pagans.
If you do not adhere to Christology, then why would you want to celebrate to the name of a Catholic Saint who had nothing to do with the original festival?
The name “Valentine” comes from one of two Christian martyrs of the 3rd century. One describes a Roman Christian martyred during the persecution of Claudis II, the other, a bishop of Terni who got martyred in Rome. (Most Christian celebrations have a preoccupation with death and martyrdom.) There occurs several versions of the Christian legend but no one knows the truth for sure. Probably at least one of them did live and died, but we have little else to go on. But the celebration of giving notes and gifts to loved ones began long before the Christian version and no doubts exist about its historical practice.
In pre-Christian Rome, people celebrated “Valentine’s day” as Lupercalia, a Roman holiday that took place during the ides of February (the 15th). They believed that the goddess Juno Februata (where the name February comes from) inflicted her “love fever” on the young and unwary. The fertility festival of Lupercalia (in honor of the pastoral god Lupercus) involved an orgy and sexual excesses. Young men drew small “love notes” from a container composed by eligible young women. The men socialized with the women and attempted to guess who composed the note they had drawn. In this way, the festival brought young men and women together as sexual partners.
For years the Christian church tried to suppress the festival of Lupercalia. Interestingly, the Church did not object to the festival for its love celebrations but for the pagan beliefs that rejected the Christian god. In 496 C.E., Pope Gelasius changed Lupercalia from the 15th to the 14th and renamed it after the legendary St. Valentine in an attempt to stop the pagan celebration. Gelasius had hoped people would emulate the lives of saints. Even after the Church replaced Lupercus with St. Valentine and recast Cupid into a cherub, the Lupercalia festival continues much as it had before, but without the sexual excesses. The change of the name and the day of celebration serves as the only “contribution” that Christians brought to Valentine’s day.
To this day, men and women send love notes to each other. And in elementary schools across the country, children still put concealed notes or gifts in a box much as the ancient Romans did. So the idea of Valentine’s Day did not come from Christianity, but from the “heretic” Romans. Praise Juno!  THANK YOU…NO NAME ATTRIBUTED
So, if you come to Dublin, be sure to seek out the Whitefriars Chapel and be prepared to fall in love……………..
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Prior to 1816, the only way to cross the River Liffey in Dublin, Ireland‘s capital city, was by one of 7 ferries.   Then, to replace the deteriorating ferries, this bridge was built and named the Wellington Bridge for the “Iron Duke” who was born on Merrion Street in Dublin.  (He, when asked about his Irish heritage,  famously replied “Just because one is born in a stable it does not make one a horse”.   Summons up his attitude to the Irish, huh?)

Although the name was officially changed to Liffey Bridge, it has always been known as the Ha’penny Bridge, which was the toll to cross the bridge….1 old halfpenny, which was collected at turnstiles on either end of the bridge.   Until 2000, when the Millenium Bridge was built,  this was the only pedestrian bridge across the River Liffey.  Studies in 2001 showed pedestrian traffic in excess of 27,000 people per day and also that critical repairs were needed.  The were carried out by Harland and Wolff of Belfast, the company which built the Titanic.

Currently, the main concern with the Ha’pennyBridge is the removal of the increasing number of “love locks” which are being attached to it and damaging the paint.  Love locks are padlocks upon which couples inscribe or paint their names, attach and lock to the bridge, then throw the keys into the Liffey as a symbol of their undying love and connectedness.  The Dublin City Council is now cutting these off on a weekly basis.

Copyright 2013                                    Mary Jane E Clark


Ah, New Orleans, LA or NOLA!  I never thought I’d enjoy it as much as I did and now can’t wait to return!  The 2 signs below epitomize the city….KEEP DOORS CLOSED, yet in 5 days, I never saw that door closed.  By contrast the sign at Willie‘s Chicken Shack, en anglais, LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL, says it all!  The rules are fluid, alcoholic beverages are allowed in open containers on the streets, the music is vibrant and diverse, as is the population.

Besides the French Quarter, with all its unhealthy behaviors from drinking to sex, drugs and rock n roll as well as beignets, the rest of the city offers an incredible range of delights.  To name a few, St Charles Avenue Streetcar through the Garden District and Tulane, the Riverwalk with its Aquarium, numerous sculptures and memorials to the Holocaust, to Immigrants, to Children and on and on………….absolutely fascinating  to walk and see not only the riverboat restaurants, but the working ferries and freights, reminding one the New Orleans is one of the most import ports of the South.  The World War II museum is very well done and well worth a half day visit for a very modest price.

Having been in turn ruled by French, Spanish and British, I’m so glad it’s part of the United States.  In fact, during the Famine Years in Ireland (1840-50), it was the 2nd most active port receiving Irish immigrants (after New York).  And their lead up to St Patrick’s Day rivals Dublin’s, second only to the Mardi Gras celebrations!

So, visit the Bead City and laissez le bon temps rouler!

(I’ll still be featuring all-Ireland blogs at so come visit me there, too)

Copyright 2013                        Mary Jane E Clark




I loved my first visit to Blarney Castle in County Cork!  Although the winding staircases got steeper and steeper, narrower and narrower, and wetter and wetter, it was wonderful to achieve the top!  The views were incredible.  And, of course, most visitors, including my daughter, lay down on their backs, had someone hold their legs and reached WAY back to kiss the Blarney Stone.  I passed (bad back, bad knees, blah blah……).  The Stone of Eloquence supposedly bestows the “gift of gab” on those who kiss it.  I figured I already had it so I just kissed my daughter!  And we made our way back down all those stairs.

Copyright 2013                              Mary Jane E Clark

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On this Easter Monday, my thoughts go to the Easter Uprising of 1916, the main locale of which was the General Post Office  (GPO) on O’Connell Street in central Dublin.  Although it was ultimately unsuccessful, the execution (and martyrdom) of its leaders roused the sentiments of the general Irish populace to support independence from Britain.  This statue of Daniel O’Connell is at the bottom of O’Connell Street and commemorates the man who, in 1829, succeeded in the quest for Catholic Emancipation, ie Irish Catholics were granted the right to hold political office without swearing a Protestant Oath of Supremacy.

From “Easter 1916

William Butler Yeats

All changed, changed utterly

A terrible beauty is born

Copyright 2013                               Mary Jane E Clark


This is the view of Saint Brendan’s Valley, or Glendalough Valley, as you travel the Military Road from Powerscourt Gardens to the monastic site of Glendalough, in the Wicklow Mountains.  The peak in the background is the Great Sugarloaf Mountain.  Less than an hour from Dublin, this is Ireland at its most beautiful!

Remember to click on photo for a larger view or on the highlighted words for more information.

Copyright 2012                   Mary Jane E Clark


This is The Grand Canal, which runs from the Shannon River to Dublin. Once a viable and busy commercial waterway, most of it is now overgrown and used only by kayakers and canoeists.  I was fascinated by the reflection of the houses in Tullamore, County Offaly, Ireland.  (Click  on image to enlarge)

Copyright  2012                   Mary Jane E Clark

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