A trip back in time: Dalkey, County Dublin
From the time I started living in Ireland, South Dublin was always my home, not including the first 6 months where I lived in the city centre. And, despite of my love of the area, there are still lots of places that I don’t know yet. Therefore, last Sunday we paid a visit to Dalkey.
Dalkey is one of many Heritage Towns in Ireland, located along the seaside of County Dublin. The town was founded as a Viking Settlement and it was also a very important port for the country during the Middle Ages. And, on the main street of Dalkey, you can find 2 castles!
So, you can imagine that this place has lots of history, and I love that. If you know me well, you’ll know that I love history, vikings and castles! I can’t hide how much I loved to visit Dalkey.
Nowadays, Dalkey is famous for its renowned pubs and restaurants. The village is lovely, with many cool shops and cafes. I was fascinated, taking pictures at every corner; everything is so photogenic.
We walked down the main street, which is called Castle Street. A very suitable name for a street with two castles, right? It is very interesting to see the past and present vibe in the same place. As you walk, you can see all the moderns establishments, cafes and restaurants and, also old buildings such as the castles and a church from the 10th century. How cool is that?
Pictures of the main street and the cute little corners of Dalkey.
A must see in the village is the Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre. We paid €7.50 as entrance for students. This included a guided tour and they also gave us a leaflet with detailed information about the castle, the church and chronological timeline of Dalkey’s history.
We were lucky to get the last tour of the day, as we were there a little late. But, if you don’t want to take any risks, you can also buy your tickets online.
For the first part of the tour, we watched a short film, about Dalkey’s history, the castle, the church and the graveyard we were about to see. It was very nice as we learned all the details, the societal structures, and what was the purpose of each feature.
Dalkey Castle is also known as the ”Goat Castle”, this name came from the family who once claimed the castle as theirs, called the Cheevers Family. Apparently Cheevers came from the word ”chevre”, which means goat in French, or something like that. Anyone who speaks French there?
What makes this tour different is the fact that the tour guides are local actors. Yeah, you heard that right! This tour is a ”Living History Tour”, where the actors are all dressed up as they were from their respective period of time. They recreate the history and you feel part of that; a trip back in time!
The only thing I would like for this tour, is that they could also provide the costumes for the visitors; so that we could all enjoy the tour dressed up while visiting the castle. This definitely would make the experience even more authentic, not that it wasn’t already. What do you guys think? Would it be a good idea? I love getting involved and it makes me more excited
- You can see me all dressed up while visiting two viking museums: Dublinia in Dublin and the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde – the posts are in Portuguese (I’ll be translating them soon, bear with me!), but you can see the pictures and get the idea.
One of my favourite parts was when we went to the top of the castle. From here, you can see the village and the seaside. That view was very important in the past, as the archers were in a very strategic position where they could also see all the ships from far away lands coming towards the coastline.
This is St. Begnet’s Church, a church dating from the 10th century. It was named after St. Begnet, the patron of Dalkey.
After seeing the castle, we stayed a while there walking around the ruins and the graveyard. So cool!
From the village to the shore is walking distance. From here you have a nice view of the Irish Sea and the serene Dalkey Island.
On the island you can find the ruins of a church, also named after St. Begnet, the remains of houses, and a Martello Tower. It is an uninhabited island, but historians have found evidence of former life there from the Mesolithic period and Stone Age.
The island was also used as a viking base. You can visit the island, but we didn’t make it there, maybe next time. I would love to go there and see everything closer.
Dalkey was named after the island, and its name is a combination of two words: Deilg, which means thorn in Irish and Ey, which means island in Old Norse. Later on the name was anglicised, as Deilg Ey sounded like Dalkey for the English speakers.
Now that we live in this area, Dalkey is right at our doorstep. I’m sure I will come back more times. I want to check the pubs, cafes and restaurants out. Maybe I can come here later and tell you guys my favourites?
From Dublin City centre, you can take the DART (train) and get off at Dalkey Station. The trip takes around 30 minutes.
And, of course, I have to mention this; some famous artists, musicians and writers live in the area, such as Bono and Enya. You can go there and see the front of their houses (Enya lives in a castle!!!).
How did you like Dalkey? Would you include it on your Dublin itinerary?
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