St. Valentine’s Shrine, Dublin
You may know of St. Valentine, but did you know his relics are in Dublin? Hidden away beneath a shrine devoted to the saint at Whitefriar Street Church is a box bearing the simple inscription: “This shrine contains the sacred body of Saint Valentinus the Martyr.” The relics were gifted to an Irish Carmelite by Pope Gregory XVI in 1835, and arrived in Dublin the following year. Above the shrine is a spiral-bound notebook, into which visitors can write their petitions. “I’m never going to let her go,” reads one. “I love her forever and ever.” Perfect!
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Co. Antrim
If you’re seeking a dramatic location for your proposal, look no further than this rope bridge on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast. Traditionally erected by fishermen so that they could cross the 23m chasm to check their salmon nets on the island, the bridge today is a permanent fixture – albeit thankfully with two hand rails instead of one (as was originally the case). Views from the island stretch as far as Scotland, and the Giant’s Causeway is nearby. Take your sweetheart out to the centre of the crossing, and get down on your knee… just be sure not to drop the ring!
Glencar Waterfall, Co. Leitrim
Recognise the name? WB Yeats noted this enchanting waterfall in his poem, The Stolen Child: “Where the wandering water gushes / From the hills above Glencar, / In pools among the rushes / That scarce could bathe a star…” Reciting the poem is an option before your proposal, but if you find that too cheesy, the views should suffice on their own. Situated just outside Manorhamilton, the 50-foot falls are simply gorgeous, a short and sweet feature pouring off the rocks.
Mizen Head, Co. Cork
Salt on your windscreen, wind in your face and waves that pummel the rocks below the old signal station… Mizen Head will make an elemental backdrop to any proposal. Ireland’s most south-westerly point lies at the end of Cork’s Mizen Peninsula – a couple of miles past the beautiful Barley Cove – but the journey is only beginning once you park up. From there, you still have to cross the arching bridge connecting 150 feet over the water (see if you can spot the seals bobbing about below) and make your way to the light at what feels like the edge of the earth. Even if you don’t have marriage in mind, it will make for an unforgettable daytrip.
Stained Glass Room, Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin
You don’t have to propose outdoors, of course. At the heart of the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, you’ll find this beautifully atmospheric grotto consisting almost entirely of stained glass. The main piece is Harry Clarke’s Eve of St Agnes – consisting of 22 small panels depicting scenes from Keats’s poem of the same title, which ends with two lovers escaping together into a storm. The storm bit is optional, but there’s no sweeter space in the city for a couple for whispering lovers.
Mount Usher Gardens, Co. Wicklow
Gardener’s World magazine voted it “most romantic” garden in Ireland, and Mount Usher certainly doesn’t disappoint in that regard. Squeeze through the tiny wooden portal leading into this enchanting Robinsonian relic, and you’ll find over 5,000 species of tree and shrub tightly knitted along the Vartry River. Choose your moment on a quiet path or an inviting bench, and wind up a successful day (fingers crossed) with a large hunk of cake at the Avoca Café in the courtyard.
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