Inside the main body of the church, to the right side, is a shrine to St. Valentine. A casket sits beneath the marble altar in a niche which is protected by an ornate iron and glass gate. Above the altar stands a life-sized commemorative statue of the saint set into a marble mosaic alcove.
A casket sits beneath the marble altar in a niche which is protected by an ornate iron and glass gate. There is a sign on the casket that says: "This shrine contains the sacred body of Saint Valentinus the Martyr, together with a small vessel tinged with his blood."
According to the Irish Province of the Order of Carmelites web site:
"In 1835 an Irish Carmelite by the name of John Spratt was visiting Rome. He was well known in Ireland for his skills as a preacher and also for his work among the poor and destitute in Dublin’s Liberties area. He was also responsible for the building of the new church to Our Lady of Mount Carmel at Whitefriar Street. While he was in Rome he was asked to preach at the famous Jesuit Church in the city, the Gesu. Apparently his fame as a preacher had gone before him, no doubt brought by some Jesuits who had been in Dublin. The elite of Rome flocked to hear him and he received many tokens of esteem from the doyens of the Church. One such token came from Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846) and were the remains of Saint Valentine."
The web site also states: "The Reliquary contains some of the remains of St Valentine – it is not claimed that all of his remains are found in this casket." It is thought that the Church of Praxedes, in Rome, Italy, also contains some of the remains of the saint.
The Irish Province of the Order of the Carmelites web site (same link as above) also has very interesting information about the legend of Saint Valentine. beginning with ancient Rome, as February 14th was a holiday to honour Juno - the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses and whom the Romans knew as the Goddess of women and marriage, and culminating with the martyrdom on February 14th, in either 269 or 270 of Valentinus for his belief in Christ. In 496 Pope Gelasius I named February 14 as Saint Valentine’s Day. From that day, on each Valentine’s Day, messages of affection, love and devotion have been exchanged all around the world.
After Mass is celebrated on St. Valentine's Day in the Whitefriar Church, a short ceremony for the "Blessing of Rings" is held for those about to be married. On the altar in front of the statue are open books where visitors can write their intentions for St. Valentine, and of course I added mine, and also a sincere thank you for almost 34 years of happy marriage!
Also of note in the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church was a beautiful shrine that contained a Flemish oak statue of Mary holding the Christ child that dates to the late 15th century or early 16th century and is called “Our Lady of Dublin.” It is believed to be the only wooden statue of its kind to escape destruction when Ireland's monasteries were sacked at the time of the Reformation. (click on photo to enlarge to see the statue's details)