The Bottom Line
- Shrine of Saint Valentine, patron saint of lovers - the place to be on February 14th.
- Medieval statue of Our Lady of Dublin.
- Richly decorated interior reflecting the re-emerging Catholic church in 19th century Ireland.
- Not situated in a tourist-friendly area of Dublin.
- Church originally opened in 1827, but subsequently extended and realigned.
- Current entrance through monastery is not original.
- Splendid interior contrasts with bleak exterior.
Guide Review - Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church (Dublin South Inner City)
Walking towards the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church one cannot help but notice changes - coming straight from Temple Bar and passing the George Street Arcade visitors will notice the shops getting smaller and decidedly less modern. You are entering one of the less well-off areas of Dublin's Southside. Not a dangerous area, but not (yet) gentryfied or dolled up for the tourist trade.
Which is one of the reasons why the Carmelites are here - their inner-city mission offers spiritual as well as practical support for the diverse community. Since the 19th century.
The interior of the Carmelite church (opened in 1827) is in total contrast to its bleak and grey exterior - actually it is a riot of color in places. The shrine of Saint Valentine being a good example, with a brightly painted statue and golden metalwork. The relics of Valentine, now one of the Irish saints by adoption, were given to the Carmelites by the Pope to boost Irish Catholicism.
The historically most important piece to look out for is Our Lady of Dublin - a 15th century wooden statue of the Virgin, originally from St. Mary's Abbey. Maybe of German origin, but the attribution to Albrecht Dürer is very far-fetched.