Looking to land an Irish lad or lassie like they do in the movies? Planning a trip for your honeymoon in Ireland? Researching romantic Ireland getaways? As romantic Irish stories go, there’s no limit to how many unique and interesting traditions Ireland inspires. When you begin to realize the romantic aspect of Ireland travel, you’re just touching on why the Emerald Isle holds so much enchantment for so many. What’s your favorite romantic Ireland story, myth or tradition?
The romantic Irish story of the Claddagh ring goes that while enslaved (he was captured by pirates), Richard Joyce collected little flecks of gold each day. He believed he’d be returned to his true love. He fashioned her a ring of two hands holding a crowned heart. This symbol of romantic Ireland has also come to mean true friendship and loyalty. All the years of his enslavement, his true love had waited for him.
Irish Aran Sweater
In this case, a woman who wanted to woo her love would knit him an Aran sweater. She used all the traditional stitches, like a blackberry and honeycomb. In romantic Ireland this was her way of showing she’s prepared to be a wife. If he wishes to accept her as his wife, he’ll take the sweater.
Matchmaking at Lisdoonvarna
As the largest single’s event in Europe, romantic Ireland has held this tradition for years. Lisdoonvarna means enclosure of the fort in the gap. It was actually a hot water spring where hundreds flocked to partake the warm waters. It was, they say, the perfect place to make a match for yourself. In September and October, with harvests safely in, farmers came to find their brides.
Valentine’s Day … or St. Valentine’s Day
Today, the relics of St. Valentine are part of the Carmelite Church in Dublin, number one on our list of the most romantic places in Ireland. The roots of St. Valentine are unreliable at best, so we’re going to pick the romantic Irish story about him we like the best, tying him to romantic Ireland. Myth says Emperor Claudius II thought single men made the best soldiers, so he commanded no bachelors be allowed to marry. St. Valentine disagreed. He continued to marry couples in secret until he was executed for his betrayal.
Haunted Ross Castle (pictured above)
Of course, romantic Irish stories can’t be complete without the story of a haunted castle by a broken-hearted ghost. Sabina, daughter of the Black Baron of Ross Castle wanted to marry her love, an O’Neill, an arch enemy of her father. One night, they escape to elope. While crossing the river, the boat capsizes and her love dies. Sabina locked herself in the castle tower, refusing to eat or drink until she perished … for the sake of love. Sigh. Now, she haunts the castle for all eternity. Very romantic Irish story, no? Also on our list of most romantic places in Ireland to visit we suggest a visit to Ross Castle in Killarney.
Leap Year Marriage Proposals
Ladies, you can thank St. Briget for this romantic Irish story. Legend has it she griped to St. Patrick about how long it took men to propose marriage. St. Patrick allowed for women to propose on one day of the year, February 29 which only occurs on a leap year, once every 4 years.
Wedding Night Myths & the origin of the “Honeymoon”
We’re not sure this constitutes a romantic Irish story, but you will note how interesting all the superstition surrounding the wedding night is in romantic Ireland. For example, it was believed that the person to fall asleep first on their wedding night was going to die first. As Irish myths go, you’d have a 50/50 shot of that happening. They also say “honey moon” came from Ireland. For one month after marrying the couple would drink mead, or honey wine. One moon of honey equals honey moon. Not so romantically, they hoped to procreate in that one month’s time so family couldn’t tear them apart.
See? There are lots of stories, myths and traditions that go along with romantic Ireland. You just have to decide which you want to believe, especially if you’re planning a “honey moon”.
Read more about romantic Ireland at our Grá XOXO headquarters page.