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Dalkey

 

The Village of Dalkey is currently a fashionable suburb of Dublin, although it was once a valuable port city. The fortified mansions of former shipping magnates from the 15th century still stand along its main street today. Archbold’s Castle is little more than an interesting ruin, while Goat Castle houses a visitor information centre. This picturesque village exudes a medieval flavor, and includes castles, ancient landmarks and scenic coastal views.

The Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre is an award-winning establishment located in the tower house of the 15th century castle. Take a walk along the castle battlements for a scenic view of the Irish coastline. The Heritage centre shows archeological films, and houses a script written by Hugh Leonard, a local playwright. It distributes booklets documenting the town’s history with information about its historical sites. The village is home to best selling author Maeve Binchy and director Neil Jordan. There is a Writer’s Gallery that supplies information on other local writers as well.

On Dalkey Hill stands Torco Cottage, where George Bernard Shaw lived from 1866-1874, though this site is closed to the public. Adjacent to the Heritage Centre lies the medieval graveyard and church of St Begnet – its foundations date back to the early years of Christianity in Ireland. Just offshore from Dalkey Village is Dalkey Island, now uninhabited, but with a long history. It has been the source of many historical artifacts from the Mesolithic era that can now been seen in the National Museum. The Island once served as a Viking Base, and is the site of one of eight Martello Towers built in the early 19th century to warn against invasion. It is now inhabited by a herd of goats and a huge bird sanctuary. Near the bird sanctuary are the remains of an ancient church.

Boat rides out to the island are provided by the third generation of the Fennel family, and a visit to the island makes for a relaxing picnic trip. Visitors say the fishing is fine and there are playful seals to observe.

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