The town of Dalkey takes its name from Dalkey Island. Originally, the island was named Deilg Inis which means Thorn Island in Irish. This was later changed to Deilg–ei by the Vikings, Dalk-ei by the Normans and later anglicised to Dalkey.
Dalkey grew as a small village around the Early Christian Church of St Begnet. Its later growth was influenced by the anchorage provided for large Anglo-Norman ships in Dalkey Sound.
Seven fortified Town House Castles were built from the 1390s onwards, along Castle Street to store the goods. At that time, Dalkey comprised of cabins, a few inns, burgages and gardens. It rose to prominence again with the excavation of granite in Dalkey Quarry from 1817.
In 1844, a new invention, the Atmospheric Railway ran from Kingstown (Dún Laoghaire) to Dalkey for 11 years. It was replaced by the steam train going to Bray. By 1865, Dalkey had its own administration. Horse-drawn trams came in 1879, followed by electric ones in 1896. The Town Hall was built in 1893. Dalkey could now be called a town.
Findlater’s, the first grocery store, opened in 1897. The Carnegie Library opened in 1902. James Joyce taught in the Clifton School in 1904. Dalkey became a heritage town in 1995. The Heritage Centre was opened in 1998 and it has won numerous awards at national level. Today, Dalkey is a thriving small town. It wins many awards in the National Tidy Towns competitions. There are many writers and creative artists living in the area. It is a much sought-after place to live.
Meet The Team
A dedicated team of Tour Guides and Volunteers ensure the successful running of the Living History Experience, Guided Walks and any other events at Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre. Community Employment (CE) and TUS provide personnel who are trained professionally in-house as tour guides, supported by Department of Social Protection.
Manager & Festival Director ECHOES
Reception & Training Supervisor
The Team from Dalkey Castle on a Research Trip to Dalkey Island
living history theatre company
Supported by Community Services Programme of Pobal, Deilg Inis is engaged at Dalkey Castle to provide a live theatre performance with professional actors as part of every guided tour. The company is directed and led by the Manager, Mr Michael Heavey.
Dalkey Town Hall
In the early 1890s, Dalkey Town Hall was built onto Goat Castle to host community events. The ground floor of the castle became the Foyer to the new Town Hall. In the 1860s, the upstairs room of the castle was used as a meeting room for the Dalkey Town Commissioners.
The building has hosted ‘dramatic’ events since the early 1900s. Eamon De Valera addressed a rally here in the 1930s. Hugh Leonard frequently referred to it in his memoir Home Before Night and in his play A Life the young Desmond delivers a speech in the Town Hall.
It has been a dance hall, a theatre, a voting venue, a library, a temporary Church, a sports arena and continues to be a valuable community space with dance classes, exercise sessions and community plays. The All-Ireland award winning drama group, Dalkey Players stage their productions here.
Awards & Accreditations
Dalkey Castle won the Overall National Heritage Award in 2016 and CIE Award of Excellence and TripAdvisor Certificates of Excellence in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 from customer satisfaction surveys. Tours consistently receive glowing 5-star reviews from our visitors.
CIE 2019 Award
National Heritage Award 2016
What our Visitors say...
I took my 6th class on the tour of the Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre. From start to finish it was very well organised, I would recommend this trip for... read more
April 13, 2022
Top class tour. Excellent re-enactors. Well worth the time to enjoy the Castle and ramble the old town.
April 12, 2022
Directions & Transport
Dalkey is on the coast, just south of Dublin City Centre. The DART journey is a relaxing experience travelling along the beautiful coast line with magnificent sea views.
Dalkey is approx. 30-35 minutes from Connolly, Tara or Pearse stations (travelling south).
Dalkey Castle postcode for Google Maps is A96 DE61.
We are open six days a week, all year round.
Closed every Tuesday.
January - May & September - December
Monday to Friday: 10.00 - 17.30
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays: 11.00 - 17.30
June, July & August
Monday to Friday: 10.00 - 18.00
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays: 11.00 - 18.00