How have the Irish celebrated Valentine's Day down through the years? Findmypast investigates...

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The Irish are a famously lyrical people, having added a disproportionate contribution to the world of literature over the years, and being blessed with centuries of folk stories and songs that served as entertainment, local history and subversion.

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon (and the pun in the headline on our minds), we’ve scoured the Irish Newspapers on Findmypast to find examples of how Ireland approached the most romantic day of the year in the past, through poetry, letters and gifts.

Waterford Chronicle, November 29th, 1870

Waterford Chronicle

Waterford Chronicle

In 1870, a Patrick Delane wrote this love letter in the Waterford Chronicle, beseeching Molly (his ‘jewel’) to believe he will defy his father and love her forever. Oh, and whether she could send some money for whiskey, to keep up his spirits.

Cork Examiner, February 14 1844

Cork Examiner

Cork Examiner

To 1844 and Cork, with another poem that suggests the author would only be charmed by Cupid provided his beau’s sensibilities weren’t offended by the absence of trousers on the little cherubs.

Dublin Packet and Correspondent, February 1840

Dublin Packet

Dublin Packet

Valentine’s Day isn’t just about love, it’s also about lucre. J. Wiseheart realised this as well as anyone, and so ensured he had the most extensive and beautiful selection available of French and English Valentines latters to enchant women across Ireland. What lady wouldn’t love the ones with ‘raised and inserted centres, which were formerly charged treble postage to the country, and can now be forwarded for one penny’?

Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier, February 14 1835

Southern Reporter

Southern Reporter

The earliest poem in our list is also the most beautiful, as an anonymous resident of Cork flexes some serious vocabulary to let the object of their affection know how they feel.

Roscommon Messenger, February 23 1850

Roscommon Messenger

Roscommon Messenger

This writer’s one-to-one with his heart confirms what he probably knew to begin with. Emma’s the one for him, and no mistake.

To explore millions of newspaper pages from Ireland dating as far back as the 1700, visit Findmypast’s Newspaper Collections today.

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