Gerry Breen shares love stories from Irish history

It is often said that the course of true love never runs smooth. There could hardly be a more concise description of some of Ireland’s legendary love stories, which all too often seem to contain an explosive mixture of romance and tragedy.

Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year, provides the ideal opportunity to take a look at some of these amazing love stories that had the most profound effects not only on the lives of those immediately involved, but on the hearts and minds of the Irish people. These stories provide tantalising glimpses into the hopes and dreams of some of Ireland’s most iconic figures.

Robert Emmet & Sarah Curran

The romance between the young United Irishman and passionate patriot Robert Emmet and the sixteen-year-old nationalist heroine, Sarah Curran (pictured above), has been the subject of song and story since the failed Irish revolution of 1803. Young Robert Emmet was arrested and found guilty of treason. His speech from the dock has set Irish hearts ablaze for generations and is considered one of the greatest and most powerful courtroom orations in Irish history.

Sarah Curran was the daughter of the lawyer John Philpot Curran. She met Emmet when she was only sixteen and became engaged to him against the wishes of her father. They were passionately in love, but there was to be no happy ending. Robert Emmet was hanged and beheaded on 20th September, 1803, in Thomas Street, Dublin. His youthful romance with Sarah Curran, his idealistic nature, his extraordinary patriotism and his rousing speech from the dock touched the hearts of the Irish people and made him a national hero. Sarah Curran married Captain R. H. Sturgeon in 1805, and she died of tuberculosis three years later at Hythe in Kent.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own