From castles and theatre to a great selection of lively bars and restaurants, a beach, concert venues, and a host of other visitor attractions, Dalkey really has it all. Given all of its lures, it’s easy to see why thousands of people flock to the beautiful South Dublin seaside town every year. And although you might know of its main attractions, are you aware that Dalkey was originally founded as a Viking settlement? Yes, it’s true! Named after Dalkey Island, which is just off shore, Dalkey was one of the most prominent Viking ports in the Middle Ages.
The main street in Dalkey is Castle Street; the street is so-called as it is home to two 14th century Norma castles and a 10th century church. One of the castles is known as Dalkey Castle and houses a wonderful heritage centre that is well worth a visit, even if castles aren’t usually your attraction of preference. The castle hosts history tours which take visitors on a trip through 15th century Ireland and, to make things more interesting, they even feature actors in full period costume. When visiting, you can follow an interactive timeline that will bring you through several key eras in Irish history from Christian through to Viking, Medieval and Victorian times right up to Dalkey in the 21st century.
The church that we previously mentioned is St. Begnet’s church. Named after an early Christian saint, the church features a belfry with twin bells and although it’s roofless, the remains of the church structure are admirable, especially the Chancel arch.
Dalkey is a thriving area in South Dublin and, over the years, it has been home to some very famous residents. Most notably, Dalkey has previously played home to Bono and The Edge from U2, Maeve Binchy, Neil Joran, Enya, Van Morrison, Pat Kenny and Ryan Tubridy. On that note, if you fancy some Irish celeb spotting, Dalkey is a great bet!
One of the key attractions in the area is the beautiful beach and harbour. And since the east of the country tends to always attract the best weather, Dalkey beach is a very popular hotspot for those wanting to soak up some summer sun (when it does decide to rear its head!). The harbours are a beautiful place to take a summers day stroll and hire boats and yacht trips are also available. For stunning scenic views and some breath-taking photograph opportunities, take a stroll up Dalkey Hill and you’ll not be disappointed.
Annual festivals include the National Book Festival, which celebrates the extraordinary Irish literary talent in a very fitting way. Lobster, Crab and all that Jazz is another favourite and as it offers an exciting mix of seafood and jazz music, it’s a combination of delicious foods and great craic (as the Irish like to say!).
Dalkey Quarry is one of the most popular rock climbing sites in the country while nearby Killiney Hill is a hot spot for avid para-gliders. Avail of the changing shelters at Whiterock Beach and The Vico and take a dip in the sea or visit one of Dalkey’s many award-winning pubs and restaurants. If nature and wildlife is what you want to see on your trip to Ireland, a trip out to Dalkey Island to see an array of wildlife including a colony of seals, wild goats and rare birds is an absolute must.
On that note, if you’re planning a trip to Dublin, make sure to schedule at least one day in the beautiful area of Dalkey.