Nothing quite says 'I love you' like making the commitment to buy a home together. And where better to make the romantic gesture than in a city that is home to the relics of St Valentine?
Whitefriar Church on Dublin's Aungier Street is a popular spot today when many couples will go to visit the shrine that is dedicated to the saint.
A plaque beside the shrine is inscribed with the words: "This shrine contains the sacred body of Saint Valentine the Martyr. Together with a small vessel tinged with his blood." Emperor Claudius II (the Cruel) was the Roman Emperor who banned engagements and marriages, believing that marital commitments had reduced the recruitment of soldiers to his army. St Valentine was a cleric who defied that ruling and married young couples in secret. When he was caught, Claudius had him beaten with clubs and beheaded.
As well as the patron saint of lovers and marriage, he's also the patron of bee-keepers, epilepsy, plague and fainting.
But for Valentine's Day, we decided to focus on the romance and take a look at five cottages in what surely must be the most romantic home type available in the city where the saint's relics are held. All of these cottages are perfectly made for two. Most may not be much bigger than your average apartment, but for people who love having their own front door, this may be the answer to urban living without compromise.
Booterstown, Co Dublin
Asking price: €650,000
Agent: DNG (01) 283 2900
If you're looking for an updated and modern take on a city cottage, 6 Grotto Place is located in a small cul-de-sac off the Rock Road with a row of single-storey terraced cottages that all look like they've been given a new lease of life.
No6 is looking particularly stylish with a new gravelled driveway and grey front door and windows. It underwent a major renovation in 2012 that included the addition of an open-plan living area at the back and the refurbishment of the rest of the property.
With a floor area of 904 sq ft, a couple of love birds could happily co-habit here long-term without the worry of it being too small to get some breathing space, if and when needed.
The two bedrooms are at the front of the house. The master bedroom has an ensuite shower room and a dressing room. The second bedroom could also be used as a home office and comes with an ensuite bathroom. The living space at the back of the house is open plan. The kitchen has high-gloss fitted units and an island. All appliances are included in the sale and are in top condition.
The living area has enough space for a large corner sofa, tv unit and coffee table. Double doors open out to a south-facing garden with a patio.
Fixtures and fittings are high-end in this cottage and everything is standing to attention. The only thing that might get in the way of romance is the noise of the kids coming and going from the school at the end of the road.
Irishtown, Dublin 4
Asking price: €450,000
Agent: Allen & Jacobs (01) 2100360
Where once stood a pokey two-bed cottage built for a dock worker and his family, now stands a slick city pad that has been through such a massive makeover that it bears very little resemblance to its original state. Most houses along this row have been extended up and out. No34 now has a floor area of 829 sq ft, thanks to the extension at the back of the house where the kitchen now resides, and the converted attic that now provides space for two small bedrooms, each with their own ensuite bathroom.
The ground floor is one open living space with the living room at the front with timber flooring and a gas fire. The kitchen at the back has a tiled floor and is fully fitted with white floor and wall units, and has enough space for a dining table.
Double doors open out to a small patio that is approximately 8ft x 8ft and there is also a guest WC on this floor.
Upstairs, the two bedrooms can fit a double bed and both ensuites have a shower unit. The location will be a big draw with young couples working in the city as Grand Canal Dock can be reached on foot in about 15 minutes.
4 Torca View, Sorrento Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin
Asking price: €795,000
Agent: Vincent Finnegan (01) 2844312
If ever there was a lesson on how to maximise space, it would have be Mulberry Cottage in Dalkey. Originally built in 1911, it sold in 2013 for €400,000 when the vendors stepped in and took it to another level. The two-bed cottage has romance written all over it, from the cosy living room surrounded by bookshelves to the bathroom with its clawfoot cast-iron bath.
As you enter the property, there is a bedroom on either side of the hall. One has an ensuite bathroom and there is also another family bathroom.
The kitchen and living area have been extended at the back, bringing the floor area of the house to 936 sq ft. The ceilings in the extension are vaulted, giving the small space more room to breathe. The kitchen is fitted with cream units and timber worktops.
French doors open out to a small yard, with a gate at the back that opens out to a path leading to Sorrento Road, with a small shed in the lane belonging to No4. It's the perfect love nest as it's set right back from the road with a neat lawn and raised deck keeping the outside world at a distance.
Cork Street, Dublin 8
Asking price: €275,000
Agent: Hunters (01) 6680008
This city centre cottage is the perfect cross between cosy cottage vibes and urban chic. With a price tag of €275,000, it could provide a young couple with the opportunity to get out of a rental and on to the property ladder.
With a floor space of just 442 sq ft though, there is little space to hide out during an argument.
The vendors have made the absolute best of the space on offer through clever design and decorating tricks. It's all clean lines, white walls and small pieces of furniture.
The front door opens straight into the living room with a cast-iron fireplace, and there's a Stira to the attic. Behind this is the smaller of the two bedrooms, with a window looking out to the courtyard. Then there is the kitchen, which has fitted base units and a Beko hob and oven.
The second bedroom and the bathroom are at the back of the house. The bedroom has a door out to the decked courtyard and rear garden.
It's kind of surprising that there is a garden big enough for an outdoor table for six and a bbq at the back, but the south-facing spot will provide the extra space that's needed when friends call over.
Eugene Street is a cul-de-sac off Cork Street and is about 15 minutes on foot to Camden Street or Thomas Street.
21 Carysfort Villas, Dalkey, Co Dublin
Asking price: €475,000
Agent: Sherry Fitzgerald (01) 2751000
Tram Cottage is sure to bring a smile to any face on a damp Irish day. The bright yellow front door is calling out to a young couple who have their heart set on a house in Dalkey Village. There is big potential is this little gem that comes on the market with a lot of personality.
These little characterful cottages were originally built for railway and tram workers who often got the benefit of being housed as an important perk of the job.
Although it only has a floor area of 560 sq ft, there is potential to knock it through and open it up, or just a light bit of modernising would do the job if the budget isn't there. The front porch opens into the living room with solid maple floor and open fireplace. There is a bedroom on the other side of the porch and the dining room beyond that.
A door from the living room takes you through to the kitchen. It's fitted with oak units that are slightly dated, but could be refreshed with a lick of paint. The second bedroom and the bathroom are at the back of the cottage.
Outside, the back yard is paved and has a block-built shed.
For a young couple with no strings, the location in the heart of the village is sure to appeal. There is a great choice of pubs and restaurants on the doorstep and the Dart station is only a five-minute walk away.
Or you could simply take a romantic stroll down to the sea at Bulloch Harbour in one direction, or also head up on foot to Killiney Hill where you can just sit at the top and look down on both the sea and the city.