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County Dublin
Castle St. Dalkey.jpg
Castle Street, Dalkey
Grid reference: O264267
Location: 53°16’34"N, 6°6’14"W
Population: 8,083  (2006)
Post town: Dalkey
Postcode: A96
Dialling code: 01
Local Government
Council: Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown
Dún Laoghaire

Dalkey is a village on the coast of County Dublin and as falling at the edge of the unbroken urban area extended from the City of Dublin it is one of that city's the most affluent suburbs.[1][2][3]

The village was historically a port town, and is now a seaside resort. It stands south-east of Dublin and of Dun Laoghaire, at the headland that marks the southern limit of Dublin Bay.


The town is named after Dalkey Island, just off shore. This name in turn is believed to be from the Irish deilg ('thorn') and the Old Norse ey ('island').


Dalkey was founded as a Viking settlement and in the Middle Ages it became an active port. According to chronicler John Clyn (c.1286–c.1349), Dalkey was one of the ports through which the plague entered Ireland in the mid-14th century.

In modern times, Dalkey has become a seaside suburb that attracts some tourist visitors. It has been home to writers and celebrities including Jane Emily Herbert, Maeve Binchy, Hugh Leonard, Bono, Van Morrison and Enya.


Dalkey lies by the coast, between Dún Laoghaire (and Sandycove and Glasthule) and Killiney. Off the coast are Dalkey Island, Malden Rock, Clare Rock, Lamb Island, and, further offshore, The Muglins, which have their own lighthouse.

The town is on fairly level land, but the district rises to Dalkey Hill (460 feet), the northern peak of a ridge which continues to Killiney Hill to the south-west; the two hills are now contained within the public park known as Killiney Hill Park.[4]

Along the coast are the natural harbour at Bullock, a couple of small inlets, Sorrento Point just east of the town proper, and the northern park of Killiney Bay.

About the village

Norman Castle in Dalkey, Ireland

Dalkey's main street, Castle Street, has a 10th Century church and two 14th Century Norman castles, one of which, Goat's Castle, houses the local Heritage Centre (the other, Archbold's Castle, is private property). There are several scenic and historical walks and tours. Dalkey Hill offers views over Dublin city, Dublin Bay, and towards the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains.

Dalkey Quarry is a disused granite quarry, stone from which was used during the 19th century to build Dún Laoghaire Harbour, and is now a rock climbing location within Killiney Hill Park. During the building of the harbour, the quarry was connected to Dún Laoghaire via a metal tramway known as 'The Metals', some parts of which are still visible in some parts of Dalkey.

Coliemore Harbour

There are several small harbours on the coast of Dalkey. Bulloch Harbour is the biggest; it is towards the northern part of Dalkey at Harbour Road and is a declared seal sanctuary. Coliemore Harbour is smaller and in the southern part of Dalkey at Coliemore Road. In the Middle Ages, Coliemore was the main harbour for Dublin City. Bulloch Harbour is still a working harbour with boats that fish for lobster and crab, and mackerel in season. It is also used by locals and tourists who hire boats for nearby fishing, sightseeing and for getting to Dalkey Island.

Bottlenose dolphin in front of Dalkey Island

On the rocks of Dalkey Island is a colony of seals. On the island a herd of wild goats grazes.[5] Birdwatch Ireland have established a colony of Roseate Terns on Maiden Rock just north of Dalkey Island. A pod of three bottlenose dolphins also frequents the waters around Dalkey Island.

Sport and leisure

  • Association Football: Dalkey United, based at Hyde Park, Dalkey
  • Athletics: Dalkey Dashers.
  • Gaelic Athletics: Cuala CLG is also based at Hyde Park, Dalkey
  • Kayaking is taught at Bulloch
  • Rowing: Dalkey Rowing Club is based at Coliemore Harbour
  • Sea scouts: Dalkey Sea Scouts keep two old sailing boats at Bulloch Harbour.
  • Swimming and diving: at Vico Bathing Place and Whiterock Beach, both with changing shelters.

Sandycove Beach and the adjacent 'Forty Foot' bathing place are a short distance away, beside the Joyce Tower.

Dalkey Sound and the islands beyond are used as scuba diving locations.[6]

Boats are available to hire at Bulloch Harbour on Harbour Road and Yacht trips around Dalkey Island can be taken from nearby Dún Laoghaire Harbour.

Killiney Hill is also used as a launch site for para-gliders.

A tram in Dalkey in the early 20th century

The Dalkey Atmospheric station at Atmospheric Road (29 March 1844 to 12 April 1854)[7] was the terminus for the first commercial application of the atmospheric system of train propulsion.[8]

Culture and society

  • Deilg Inis Living History Theatre Company run live theatre performances every half-hour at Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre.
  • Dalkey Book Festival takes place over a weekend in Mid-June every year, often attended by well-known authors.
  • Dalkey Lobster Festival in late August, which "showcases local seafood and global jazz musicians".[9]

King of Dalkey

This putative elective monarchy is a tradition of the people of Dalkey.[10] The freemen of Dalkey inherited the right to elect this King through the boredom of young bloods in Dublin in 1787. They formed a club into which they roped wits, poets and thinkers. They summoned "Pimlico Parliament". The full title is "King of Dalkey, Emperor of the Vikings, Prince of the Holy Island of Magee, Baron of Bulloch, Seigneur of Sandycove, Defender of the Faith and Respector of All Others, Elector of Lambay and Ireland's Eye, and Sovereign of the Most Illustrious Order of the Lobster and Periwinkle."

During the years, twenty knee-breeched courtiers in 18th century costume attended the King of Dalkey on Coronation Day. In later times the costumes were hired from a theatrical costumiers in Dublin.

More than 420 attended the regal procession, carnival and coronation on 20 August 1797 as Stephen Armitage (pawnbroker and printer) became "King Stephen the First, King of Dalkey". Then came the 1798 Rising and its ensuing political unrest, that interrupted this putative cultural monarchy. However, the tradition was revived in 1934,[11] in 1965, again in 1983, and still continues.

Local tradition says that Hugh Dempsey was crowned "King of Dalkey" about 1780.[12] On the south side of the old church lies another stone which says: "This stone was erected by Mr. Murtagh Dempsey of the City of Dublin in Memory of his affectionate son Hugh Dempsey blockmake of said City who departed this Life April 7th 1790."

See also

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Dalkey)