In the spirit of Saint Valentine, embark on a romantic journey through the ages and take an affectionate look at all things governed by the heart at the National Museum of Ireland.
Ramble down memory lane in the Museum sites in Collins Barracks and Turlough Park, Castlebar and see how love was expressed in days gone by. Friendship rings, wedding gowns and gloves, scent bottles with hidden secrets, bracelet of human hair, all await your admiring glances.
A number of love-related items are on display in the National Museum of Ireland:
National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
See how our ancestors expressed their love for each other.
• Harvest Knot: Traditionally these knots were made from straw to give to a loved one.
• Traditional Wedding dress
• Traditionally in Ireland, between now and Shrove Tuesday it was a time for weddings (as none were permitted during Lent). The matchmaking usually started in earnest after Lúnasa when the harvesting work finished. Harvest knots were exchanged as love tokens. The courting continued through the winter with Halloween rings and superstitions.
National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks.
This beautiful Museum contains some real love-related gems.
• Harvest Knot. Traditionally these knots were made from straw to give to a loved one after the crops had been harvested.
• Items on display in the permanent collections include:
• Wedding rings and bracelet in The Way We Wore – Jewellery gallery
• The bracelet is of human hair worked over a hard core to resemble snake scales, and given a serpent’s head and tail of gold and enable. The shape signified eternity and faithfulness. The gold heart-shaped locket obviously represented love. Gifts of locks of one’s hair were given in the past to lovers, children, parents of friends as sentimental tokens. Longer lengths were given to specialists who plaited, wove or worked them into rings, brooches, pins, earrings, bracelets etc.
• Wedding gowns in The Way We Wore – Clothing gallery.
• A bronze figure of Venus and Cupid in the Out of Storage collection.