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  Dalkey Island & Coliemore Harbour

Download our map of Dalkey Island Here (PDF 4.6mb)

Just a mere 300 meters off the most easterly point of Dublin's Riviera, or Sorrento Point to be exact, lies Dalkey Island and gives it's name to the small village of nearby Dalkey. 'Deilginis' is the Irish for Dalkey, you'll see it on the front of busses and road signs. The literal translation of 'Deilginis' from Irish is 'thorny island'. 450m long and 250m wide comprising around 22 acres. The three small islands to the north are Lamb Island, Clare Island and Maiden Rock.

The first thing you'll notice when you look across at the island is the dominating Martello Tower on it's summit, one of many built along the north and south coasts of Dublin in the early 1800's to aid the British defend their second capital from the threat of a Napoleonic invasion, which never came in the end. On the most southerly end of the island are the remains of the battery (fort) which would have been part of the island's defences. The tower and battery were constructed in 1804.

Dalkey Island as seen from Coliemore Harbour

The island itself has produced remains and artifacts which date human occupation back as early as 4500bc, these are currently kept in the National Museum in Dublin, but there are still the remains of 7th century church, named after St. Begnet, the local saint, and a 'Holy Well' said to cure rheumatism. The church itself was modified by the solders building the defences in 1804 when they added windows and a fireplace to it in order to utilise the structure as accommodation during the construction period. There's also the remains of an iron age fort at the north of the island, but only the ditch is noticeable if you know where to look.There have also been suggestions that the island was a trading center during Roman and Viking times.

In the summertime it is possible to get over to the island using the services of the local fishermen, they usually charge around €8 per person for the return journey. Just ask for the Island Ferry. Journey time is about five minutes, it's only 500m from Coliemore Harbour to the Island's jetty. Colimore harbour used to be the main port for Dublin between the 14th & 17th centuries during times when the river Liffey silted up.

Be aware that there are wild goats and rabbits on the island, so watch your step as you explore. You might meet one of the seals that live around the rocky shore of the island. If you're very lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the small pod of dolphins that frequent the waters of Dalkey Island and Killiney Bay.

Around the island the currents can be very strong, so swimming is not advisable anywhere on the island, also the rocky shore does not lend itself to easy access to the sea. You'll get a great view of Killiney Bay from the island, there are many safe places to swim in the bay, just keep those togs in the bag for now and you'll live to put them on another day.

It's possible to rent small fishing boats from both Bulloch and Coliemore Harbours, fishing is good around the island with lots of Pollock and Mackerel usually the catch of the day.

Between Dalkey Island and the Muglins to the east is a favourite place for scuba divers, with a reef and sandy bottom it has a few surprises in store for the adventurous diver.

Dalkey Island Martello Tower     7th century church ruins

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