For the locality in South Australia, see Dalkey, South Australia.
Suburb of Dublin

Castle Street, Dalkey

Location in Ireland

Coordinates: 53°16′34″N 6°06′14″W / 53.276°N 6.104°W / 53.276; -6.104Coordinates: 53°16′34″N 6°06′14″W / 53.276°N 6.104°W / 53.276; -6.104
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
County Dublin
Elevation 26 m (85 ft)
Population (2006)[1]
  Urban 8,083
Irish Grid Reference O264267

Dalkey (/ˈdɒːkiː/; Irish: Deilginis, meaning "thorn island") is an affluent suburb of Dublin and seaside resort just south of Dublin City, Ireland. It was founded as a Viking settlement and became an important port during the Middle Ages. According to John Clyn, it was one of the ports through which the plague entered Ireland in the mid-14th century. In modern times, Dalkey has become a thriving seaside suburb and a minor tourist attraction. It has been home to many writers and celebrities including Jane Emily Herbert, Maeve Binchy, Hugh Leonard, Bono, Van Morrison and Enya


The town is named after Dalkey Island, just off shore. The name is derived from the Irish deilg ("thorn") and the Old Norse ey ("island").

King of Dalkey

This putative elective monarchy is a tradition of the people of Dalkey . The freemen of Dalkey inherited the right to elect this King through the boredom of young bloods back in the Dublin of 1787. They formed a club into which they roped wits, poets and thinkers. They summoned "Pimlico Parliament" - named after The Liberties, Dublin, and from an Assembly Room they hurled broadsides at the country's humbug and the pomposity of the Castle (Dublin Castle) and its hacks.

The full title is most impressive "King of Dalkey, Emperor of the vikings(ringrose), 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. Fun was the royal order of the day for all concerned.

More than #420 attended the regal procession, carnival and coronation on August 20, 1797 of Stephen Armitage-pawnbroker and printer- "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 successfully revived in 1934 , 1965 and again in 1983, and continues. The current King is the local sacristan, Finbarr Madden .

The following articles (collected by Alice Cullen) concern the "Royal goings on" make very interesting reading. They are a barometer of the local culture of the times. The first mention of a Dalkey King is taken from 1780 Dublin Historical Record Vol. 1V No. 2. December 1941-February, 1942 Glimpses of Old Dalkey by F.M. O'Flanagan .

Local tradition says that Hugh Dempsey was crowned "King of Dalkey" about 1780. 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."

Local amenities


Bottlenose dolphin playing with a paddle boarder in front of Dalkey Island

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 popular 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 of which is still visible in some parts of Dalkey.


Coliemore Harbour and in the distance Dalkey Island with Martello Tower

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 much smaller but very picturesque and is 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. It is also used by locals and tourists who hire boats for nearby fishing, sightseeing and for getting to Dalkey Island.


Cuala CLG, a prominent Gaelic Athletic Association sports club, and Dalkey United, an association football club, are both based at Hyde Park. Early in his soccer career, Paul McGrath played for Dalkey United. In the 1940s, the town produced another footballer of note, Peter Farrell. Recently it has set up an athletics club, the Dalkey Dashers. Dalkey Rowing Club is based at Coliemore Harbour and Kayaking is taught at Bulloch. Dalkey Sea Scouts keep two beautiful old sailing boats at Bulloch Harbour.


There are 5 schools in Dalkey: - Loreto Primary School caters for boys from junior infants through first class, and for girls from junior infants through sixth class. - Loreto Abbey Secondary School caters for girls from first year through sixth year. - Harold Boys' National School caters for boys from second class through sixth class. - Saint Patrick's National School caters for boys and girls from junior infants through sixth class. - Castlepark School is an independent school for boys and girls from Montessori to the end of Primary School.


The Dalkey Atmospheric station at Atmospheric Road (29 March 1844 to 12 April 1854)[2] was the terminus for the first commercial application of the atmospheric system of train propulsion.[3]

The railway line at Dalkey, looking north

The current Dalkey railway station was opened on 10 July 1854. The station is served by the DART electric rail system which affords quick access to and from Dublin City Centre. Spectacular clifftop views of Dalkey Island and Killiney Bay are afforded as the train emerges from a short tunnel just south of Dalkey Station. Sit on the left side of the train as it leaves Dalkey. Many passengers report seeing the resident pod of dolphins playing in the water between this point and Killiney Station. The train has been known to slow down if they are putting on a show!

An Aircoach service with a stop at Hyde Road links the area with Dublin Airport. Dublin Bus services 59, 7d and 111 link the area with the city centre and the nearby seaside town of Dún Laoghaire.


Dalkey is the original hometown of two well-known Irish writers: novelists Maeve Binchy and playwright Hugh Leonard. It is also the setting for Flann O'Brien's novel The Dalkey Archive. In recent years several well-known Irish and international music figures — including U2 members Bono and The Edge, Enya, Chris de Burgh and Van Morrison — have bought residences in the area. Film director Neil Jordan lives in the town.

Pat Kenny (former host of RTÉ's flagship chat show The Late Late Show) is a resident. Current host of The Late Late Show Ryan Tubridy also lives in the area.

Formula One drivers Damon Hill and Eddie Irvine, are former residents as are singers Lisa Stansfield and Jim Kerr.

James Joyce and George Bernard Shaw also have close associations with the area. Shaw lived in Torca Cottage on Dalkey Hill from 1866 to 1874 and Joyce lived in The Joyce Tower in Sandycove for a time and set the first chapter of his masterpiece, Ulysses, there.

Victoria Cross recipient Major William Leet was born in Dalkey.

Rees Ringrose, a computer programmer who designed numerous fitness websites, was born and resides in Dalkey.

Annual Festivals

Dalkey Book Festival

Now in its fourth year, Dalkey Book Festival was set up to celebrate and foster the wealth of literary talent in and around the town. The festival takes place over a weekend in Mid-June every year. Festival directors, David McWilliams and Sian Smyth, work with the support of a superb team of volunteers and the Dalkey Business Group to ensure the festival’s success. The long list of contributors includes Salman Rushdie, Amos Oz, Seamus Heaney, Edna O'Brien, Roddy Doyle, Maeve Binchy, Joseph O'Connor, Tim Pat Coogan, Derek Landy, Jennifer Johnston, Robert Fisk, Eamon Morrissey, John Waters, Matt Cooper, Julian Gough, Dawn O'Porter and Sinéad Cusack.

Lobster, Crab and all that Jazz

Now in its third year this festival, which takes place in late August, is a fusion of local seafood and the best of current global jazz musicians with lots of fun events for all the family to enjoy.

Things To Do

Norman Castle in Dalkey, Ireland

Dalkey is famous for its award winning Pubs and Restaurants. Dalkey's main street, Castle Street, has a 10th Century church and two 14th Century Norman castles, one of which houses The Heritage Centre. There are numerous scenic and historical walks and tours. Free tourist maps are available from shops in the town and at Dalkey Castle. Dalkey Hill offers spectacular views over Dublin City, Dublin Bay and the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains. Deilg Inis Living History Theatre Company run live theatre performances every half-hour at Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre. 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. Dalkey Quarry is a very popular rock climbing and abseiling venue. Killiney Hill is a popular launch site for para-gliders, the wind coming in off the sea offers good lift.

Para Glider at Killiney Hill looking over Dalkey Island


The Vico Bathing Place and Whiterock Beach, accessed off Vico Road, offer sea swims with spectacular views. Both have changing shelters. The ever popular Sandycove Beach and the adjacent 'Forty Foot' bathing place are a short stroll away beside the Joyce Tower. Intrepid local youths can often be seen diving off the piers at Coliemore Harbour.


Dalkey Island is home to a colony of seals which has greatly expanded in recent years. A herd of wild goats lives on the island also. Birdwatch Ireland have established a colony of Roseate Terns on Maiden Rock just north of Dalkey Island. More recently a pod of three bottlenose dolphins has begun frequenting the waters around Dalkey Island.

See also


  1. "Census 2006 – Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland. April 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 17, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-12. Note: The figure given is the sum of the populations of the Dalkey-Avondale, Dalkey-Bullock, Dalkey-Coliemore, Dalkey Hill and Dalkey Upper sections of the area.
  2. "Dalkey station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  3. Industrial Heritage Ireland
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