Insider Tips

Dalkey Dublin: An Itinerary

By Visit Dublin

13th December 2014

Having visited Malahide, Howth and Dún Laoghaire, American writer Kate Burke and photographer Chloë Keogan continue their trip along the Dublin coast to Dalkey. Here, they explore all that this historical village has to offer...

Soaked in history

Originally founded as a Viking settlement, Dalkey on Dublin’s southside is positively soaked in history. Taking the now-familiar DART journey along scenic Dublin Bay, Chloë and I excitedly planned our day’s itinerary, eager to sample both the traditional and modern elements of this charming seaside village.Less than half an hour after leaving city-centre DART station Pearse Street, we arrived at Dalkey station and took a stroll through the village to our first stop – Biddy’s Cottage. In this warm and quirky living-room style gallery, guests experience the magic of traditional Irish storytelling, which has been passed down through generations of seanachaí (storytellers) like Biddy and her father, Owen.


The Dart to Dalkey


With a toasty fire burning, we sat down for a cup of tea and some homemade oatcakes as Biddy took her place in her rocking-chair. With photos of her ancestors smiling down at us, Biddy regaled us with stories of old Ireland, Irish immigration and the many personal tales that have inspired her own folk artwork, much of which also adorns the cottage’s walls. Though we could have spent an entire day listening to her fascinating yarns, the time finally came for us to say our goodbyes. Biddy directed us straight down the hill to Coliemore Harbour, and after just a two-minute walk; we were right on the sea front. At the picturesque harbour, we were met by Kenneth, our sailing instructor from the Irish National Sailing School in Dún Laoghaire. 


Looking at artwork in Biddy's Cottage

Across the waves

Having climbed aboard Kenneth’s boat, we excitedly made the short journey across the waves out to Dalkey Island, where we were greeted by four friendly seals. Though the island is small, it’s steeped in history, and home to a Martello tower and the ruins of a tenth century church. Unsurprisingly, the view from the island is stunning – we gazed out at Bullock Harbour and Bray to the south, and north to Poolbeg and Howth.


Dalkey Island


When we’d explored the whole of this beautiful island, Kenneth took the boat around to see the now cemented door in the side of the island’s rock. Legend has it that this door is linked through a tunnel up to the Martello tower, and that in the event of an attack, islanders would be able to escape through the door and back to the mainland.


A view of the Island from the mainland


Next, we set off for Killiney Hill Park (home to Dalkey quarry), and geared up for our most challenging task yet: abseiling and rock climbing with Adventure Burn. Our instructor Simon harnessed us up, before we slowly abseiled down the cliff side. Then came the challenge; the climb back up! About halfway through, I reached a quite a challenging stretch, and slipped. But with the encouragement of Chloë and Simon, I gained my footing again and made it to the top. We felt a huge sense of accomplishment as we sat on the cliff edge afterwards, admiring the spectacular views of Dublin city and mountains.


Abseiling down a cliff in Dalkey quarry

Living history

Still on a high, we then made our way to Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre, which comprises the castle, an early Christian church and graveyard, as well as the more modern heritage centre and a writer’s gallery. Offering the perfect mix of history and theatrics, guests enjoy ‘Living History’ quite literally; an interactive live theatre performance by costumed actors. Full of quick wit and historical anecdotes, the characters really bring this ancient site to life.


Learning from a guide at Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre


With our trip sadly coming to a close, the Magpie Inn served as the perfect final stop in our four-day whirlwind adventure around Dublin Bay. Boasting a fantastic selection of craft beers, we kicked back and relaxed while feasting on the seafood catch of the day. Fresh sea bass (eyes, tail and everything!) on a bed of chunky sweet potato fries and fresh veg made for a perfect dinner. As we finished up, we decided it’d be rude not to swing by Finnegan’s, the pub and restaurant where Michelle Obama and her daughters dined during the family’s Irish visit in 2013.


The Magpie Inn


And with that, we left charming Dalkey, and headed back to the city-centre. With the Dublin lights illuminating the city against the darkness of night, I went to bed rejuvenated, happy, and looking forward to my next Dublin adventure!

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