Ultimate Travel Guide to Dalkey

Wanderlust in Dalkey: A Savvy Traveler’s Guide

Did you know that the name ‘Dalkey’ is a fascinating blend of Irish and Viking roots, translating to ‘thorn island’?

From the ancient Dalkey Castle to the panoramic views atop Dalkey Hill, it’s all about blending the old and the new with a side of picturesque vibes.

If you’re curious about what Dalkey has to offer, let’s dive into our handy travel guide below!

What is Dalkey most known for?

What is Dalkey most known for
Image from ILoveDalkey.com

Dalkey is known for its great historical significance, notably as a Viking settlement and a buzzing port during the Middle Ages. In the 14th century, it contributed a lot to bringing the plague to Ireland.

Fast forward, and it’s the home turf for literary legends like George Bernard Shaw and Maeve Binchy. Just picture them sipping coffee at a seaside café, discussing plot twists—that’s the vibe.

Back in the 12th century, the Anglo Normans swung by and turned Dalkey into the port of Dublin’s dreams. Even if Dublin had some shallow waters, it’s not a big deal! Dalkey Sound became a prime spot for big ships to unload all their precious cargo.

And guess what? Seven castles popped up to keep an eye on those goods—Dungan’s, Yellow Castle, Wolverton’s, Archbold’s, Dalkey Castle, House Castle, and Black Castle. They were serious about guarding that stuff!

But hey, life’s a rollercoaster, and Dalkey had its ups and downs. From a fortified settlement to a sleepy fishing village, it seems to have had more reinventions than Madonna.

Then, enter the 19th century—cue the Martello Towers and a swanky railway connection. Suddenly, Dalkey was the place to be, offering Victorian residences, sea air, and city commuting. 

Today, Dalkey is a posh suburb with a colourful backstory, boasting an impressive roster of music icons (think of The Edge and Bono) who call it home. It’s got the charm, the history, and probably a few tales to tell if those old walls could talk.

How to Get There

How to Get There
Photo by Miha Meglic on Unsplash

Dalkey is like Dublin’s cool coastal cousin, just 12.7 km away from the city centre. Getting there is easy as pie—hop on a bus, catch a train, snag a taxi, or roll up in style with your own wheels.

If you’re ready to get going, here’s a guide on how to travel to Dalkey:

By Train

For train enthusiasts, hop on the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) from the city centre straight to Dalkey station. It’s a half-hour joyride that’ll set you back around 4 euros for a single ticket.

And fear not, the DART shows up every 15 minutes on weekdays and every 20 minutes on weekends. Schedule details and fare wisdom can be found on the Irish Rail website.

By Bus

If buses are more your speed, there are 3 routes that’ll happily drop you off in Dalkey style—the 7D, the 59, and the 111. Whether you’re coming from Mountjoy Square, Dún Laoghaire, or Loughlinstown Park, you’re covered.

The bus adventure takes about 45 minutes, and it’s a steal at around 3 euros for a single ticket. Dive into the nitty-gritty of schedules and fares on the Dublin Bus website.

By Car

For the road trippers, buckle up! Take the N11 road from Dublin and follow the signs for Dún Laoghaire. 

Cruise along the coast on the R119 road, swing a right onto Ulverton Road, and voila! You’ve arrived on Castle Street in Dalkey.

The drive’s a leisurely 40 minutes, and there are parking havens like Hyde Road and Sorrento Road car parks. Need more parking deets? Check the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council website.

General Climate

General Climate
Image by ILoveDalkey.com

Dalkey struts its stuff in Dublin with a climate that’s as temperate as your favourite cup of tea. It has mild winters and summers cool enough to keep you on your toes.

In January, it’s all about rocking temperatures between 4.5°C (40.1°F) and 7.8°C (46°F), while August cranks up the heat with a range of 12.7°C (54.9°F) to 16.9°C (62.4°F). Overall, we’re looking at a yearly average of 9.65 °C (49.5 °F).

Now, let’s talk about the rain. Dalkey pulls in about 750 millimetres (30 inches) of the wet stuff every year, earning its reputation as the dry wit of Ireland. Showers are the constant players on the field, and no season gets excluded from the game.

Winter (December to February) brings a chilly -5 °C (23 °F) to 8.5 °C (47.3 °F), but snow’s as rare as finding a unicorn at a coffee shop. Meanwhile, spring (March to May) warms up slowly, like your morning coffee.

Summer (June to August) is also a cool, wet party—no hot dates with 30 °C (86 °F) here. Finally, autumn (September to November) cools things down while adding a touch more rain. 

Best Time to Go

Best Time to Go
Image by ILoveDalkey.com

If Dalkey, Ireland, is on your travel radar, aim to visit in July and August. It’s Mother Nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’

Mild temps and minimal rain—it’s the perfect combo for soaking in coastal charm, exploring castles, and sipping on pints without a raincoat in sight! Your umbrella will thank you for the vacation.

What to See and Do in Dalkey

Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre

Website: https://dalkeycastle.com/

Address: Castle Street, Dalkey, Co. Dublin

Phone: +353 1 285 8366

Email: [email protected]

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Friday – 10 AM to 5:30 PM ( until 6 PM from June to August)
  • Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays – 11 AM to 5:30 PM (until 6 PM from June to August)

Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre is your way to get a blast from the past in Dalkey. Forget the usual stroll through dusty old halls. Here, you’re in for a ride through the ages, guided by actors who’ve mastered the art of mediaeval banter.

There’s a Murder Hole here too—not a crime scene. It’s more like a historical thriller waiting to be explored. 

Then there are the Battlements, witnessing more drama than a soap opera, and a garderobe that’s practically an ancient bathroom selfie spot! Imagine striking a pose where people did back in the day.

Back in the 1390s, Dalkey Castle was like the Amazon delivery hub, storing goods before they hit the streets of Dublin. Across the street, there’s another castle’s leftovers—Dalkey’s own historical theme park.

In addition, the Heritage Centre has a film that might beat your last binge-watch, a replica doorway with serious history vibes, and interactive displays that make learning feel like a cool game.

Dalkey Quarry

Dalkey Quarry, an old granite playground in Ireland, isn’t your average stroll-in-the-park kind of deal. It’s a rock climber’s dream with over 350 routes, from cakewalks to ‘Indecent Assault’ (E8 6c), a real Irish tough cookie. 

Now, let’s talk geography. It’s split into the East and West Valleys. The East is where you’ll find the brainy routes, and the West’s got the cracks and corners, perfect for those who like a little variety. 

And when it comes to timing, spring to autumn is your golden ticket. Slippery rocks after rain? No, thanks—we’re all about safety here.

Dalkey Quarry isn’t just a rock-climbing circus; it’s a historical hotspot, once churning out granite for Dublin’s cool kids like the Castle and Dún Laoghaire Harbour. Why not spy on some old quarrying tools while you’re at it?

Mornington Garden

Mornington Garden
Image from Visit Dublin

Mornington Garden in Dalkey is a serene oasis of natural beauty and history. For over half a century, the Bowring family has lovingly maintained this four-acre garden, which features a variety of plants, trees, ponds, sculptures, and wildlife. 

It’s not just your average garden stroll, either. Kids can run wild; there’s a Pinterest-worthy clothesline; a potting shed for all your gardening dreams; a fancy glasshouse for those plant goals; and even a chicken pen (yes, chickens in Dublin!). 

And here’s the kicker—there’s not one, not two, but nine compost bins here. It’s basically the Avengers of waste disposal—talk about sustainability!

The garden is eco-friendly too, with veggie, fruit, and ornamental gardens managed sustainably. It’s like a green celeb hangout surrounded by mature trees, including a giant Eucalyptus gunnii, and shaped shrubs.

Dalkey Island

Dalkey Island is a notable destination with historical landmarks such as St. Begnet’s Church ruins, a Martello Tower dating back to 1804, and a lighthouse on the Muglins rocks. It’s a cool mix of history and nature worth checking out.

It’s a 1 hour and 15-minute joyride through Dublin’s past and present. Dalkey Island seems to be a place where history meets hilarity and pirates meet panoramic views. 

But hold on to your hats for this one. Before 1798, they used to crown a ‘King of Dalkey and Emperor of the Muglins. It’s like Dalkey had its own Game of Crowns happening!

And here’s a juicy tidbit: the Muglins were the OG pirate hangout. Two troublemakers even got the axe (literally) in 1765, and their remains became the island’s version of a cautionary billboard. Talk about a pirate’s life lesson!

Just brace yourself for this epic journey. You can either ferry from Dún Laoghaire or cruise from Coliemore Harbour—totally your call.


Dalkey Festivals are a celebration of the rich tapestry of culture, literature, and community that defines this charming seaside haven. These festivals are a testament to the town’s deep-rooted appreciation for the arts and its vibrant spirit.

First on the scene is the Dalkey Book Festival in mid-June. It’s a bookworm’s paradise, featuring local and international authors sharing their craft and wisdom. It’s basically a front-row seat to the literary world’s coolest conversations!

Then, mark your calendar for the Dalkey Lobster Festival in late August. Calling all seafood lovers! Imagine fresh lobster, live music setting the perfect vibe, and street entertainment adding to the festivities. 

It’s a feast for your taste buds and a symphony for your ears. Bonus points—it supports local charities, so you’re feasting for a cause.

Last but not least, make sure not to blink and miss the Echoes Festival in October, especially if you’re a Maeve Binchy fan. This one’s all about talks, interviews, and walks that spill the beans on Dalkey’s deep connection with famous writers.

Killiney Hill

Killiney Hill
Photo by Dónal Kennedy on Unsplash

Killiney Hill’s crowning glory, the Obelisk, treats you to a sweeping panorama of Killiney Bay that generously extends its embrace all the way to Wicklow.

You can reach that summit in just 20 minutes from the parking lot. From up there, you’ve got Bray Head and the Wicklow Mountains on one side and Dublin City on the other—a view that’s basically giving you two shows for the price of one!

But hold on, there’s a bonus round. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, extend your jaunt by following the trail from the park to the coast along Vico Road. That’s where some of Dublin’s A-listers call home.

Where to Eat

The Dalkey Duck

Website: https://www.facebook.com/DalkeyDuck/ 

Address: 61 Castle Street, Dalkey, Dublin

Phone: +353 1 552 8605

Email: [email protected] 

Operating Hours:

  • Open Daily – 12 PM to 11:30 PM

The Dalkey Duck is more than your typical pub; it’s a gastropub and live music hotspot. Offering a mix of Irish classics and international favourites, this place caters to any mood, be it a casual lunch, a romantic dinner, or a lively night out.

Its menu is a culinary adventure. The highlights are the 8-Hour Guinness Braised Beef Short Rib and the Sautéed King Prawns with nduja sausage. Don’t worry if you’re a vegetarian; the Pea and Shallot Ravioli is also a delight!

This place has your back with a stellar lineup of craft beers, wines, cocktails, and spirits. There are also live music events that feature the best of local and national talent.

Corner Note Café

Website: https://thecornernotecafe.ie/ 

Address: 1 Coliemore Rd, Dalkey, Co. Dublin

Phone: (01) 202 3922

Email: [email protected] 

Operating Hours:

  • Open Daily – 12 PM to 11:30 PM

If you’re on the lookout for a charming spot to enjoy a scrumptious meal in Dalkey, The Corner Note Café should be on your radar. This place is like a culinary hug in the form of a cafe or wine bar. 

Let us tempt you with some menu highlights like The Full Breakfast, a hearty sandwich with sausage, bacon, egg, and tomato relish that’s perfect for a morning happy dance. 

And then there’s The Corner Dog, an elevated hot dog with apple and mustard sausage in a warm Caviston’s Roll, adorned with sautéed onions, pickles, dijon, and ketchup. Your taste buds are in for a gourmet hot dog revelation!

Guinea Pig Restaurant

Website: https://www.guineapigrestaurant.ie/ 

Address: 17-18 Railway Road, Dalkey, Co. Dublin

Phone: +353 1 2859055

Email: [email protected] 

Operating Hours:

  • Dinner: Wednesday – Sunday from 5:30 PM
  • Lunch: Sunday from 12 PM

Dalkey’s Guinea Pig Fish Restaurant journeys through flavours that have stood the test of time. Since 1957, they’ve been dishing out culinary wonders, all crafted with ingredients handpicked from the neighbouring farms and seas.

Whether you’re looking for a seafood feast, a succulent steak, or a vegetarian delight, you’ll find something to treat your taste buds with on their menu.

You can choose from their à la carte, early, discovery, or Sunday lunch menus, featuring dishes like Portmagee crab meat and cod croquette, Irish fillet steak with pepper sauce, or baked seabass with Provençale vegetables. 


Website: https://www.guineapigrestaurant.ie/ 

Address: 25, 25 Castle St, Dalkey, Co. Dublin

Phone: +353 (0)1 284 9071

Email: [email protected] 

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Wednesday – 5 PM to 10 PM
  • Thursday to Saturday – 12 PM to 10 PM
  • Sunday – 12 PM to 9 PM

DeVille’s is a charming French bistro in Dalkey with more character than a classic novel. David and Kim O’Driscoll, the dynamic duo behind the joint, named it after their great-grandmother, giving the place a touch of family warmth.

You stroll in, take a seat, and the menu unveils a parade of French delights. Plaice Meunière is doing the cha-cha with Beef Bourguignon while Seafood Tagliolini waltzes in.

But let’s not forget the opening acts—starters that could steal the spotlight. Fancy a goat cheese and beetroot salad, perhaps? Or dive into a French onion soup that’s basically a warm hug in a bowl. 

Thyme Out

Website: https://thymeout.ie/ 

Address: 33/34 Castle Street, Dalkey, Co. Dublin

Phone: +353(0)1 285 1999

Email: [email protected] 

Thyme Out Dalkey is like the gourmet genie of food delivery in the heart of Dalkey. They bring delicious handmade meals right to your door, no matter where you are in the country.

From comforting chicken and mushroom pie to exotic Thai green curry, their menu is a symphony of flavours. Not just about meals, they also serve up award-winning coffee and quick bites like sandwiches, soups, and salads. 

And if you want to be a hero and surprise someone, Thyme Out’s hampers are the perfect gift, or you can get creative and build your own.

Where to Stay

Coliemore Accommodation

Coliemore Accommodation
Image from Booking.com

Address: 1 Tubbermore Rd, Dalkey Commons, Dalkey, Co. Dublin

Phone: +353 87 181 7034

Nestled in Dalkey, Coliemore Accommodation is a sustainable gem that’s got your back, free Wi-Fi, air-conditioned rooms, and hassle-free parking. Imagine cosy rooms with a touch of castle charm, flat-screen TVs, and scenic views of Dublin Bay. 

If you’re travelling with the fam, they’ve got spacious options and housekeeping on point. Craving some good eats? The on-site restaurant also dishes out delightful American cuisine.

And when you’re feeling adventurous, there’s windsurfing and leisurely beachfront strolls waiting for you. Plus, you can upgrade to the executive rooms for a taste of luxury.

Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel

Website: https://www.fitzpatrickcastle.com/ 

Address: 33/34 Castle Street, Dalkey, Co. Dublin

Phone: +353 1 230 5400

Email: [email protected] 

Just a four-minute drive from Dalkey, the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel seamlessly blends historic charm with modern luxury. This family-owned 4-star castle, boasting stunning views of Dublin Bay, offers a royal experience.

From the award-winning PJ’s Restaurant to the mediaeval ambience of the Dungeon Bar & Grill and the sophistication of the Library Bar, the hotel is a culinary delight! 

Beyond the castle walls, guests can explore beautiful gardens, tackle Killiney Hill, or unwind on Killiney’s beach. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll, a tennis match, horse-riding, golf, or sailing, this castle caters to all tastes. 

Haddington Hotel

Website: https://haddingtonhouse.ie/ 

Address: 9-12 Haddington Terrace, Dún Laoghaire

Phone: +353 1 280 1810

Email: [email protected] 

Haddington House, around 3 km away from Dalkey, proudly sits on a heritage site, offering stunning views of the coastline. Built in the 1950s by combining four Victorian townhouses, the hotel exudes a unique charm and a warm Victorian vibe.

Cosy bedrooms, premium cocktails in the parlour room, and a beautiful sea view from the garden make for a delightful stay. The renowned Oliveto restaurant is seamlessly integrated into the hotel, offering a memorable dining experience. 

Royal Marine Hotel

Website: https://www.royalmarine.ie/ 

Address: Marine Rd, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin

Phone: (01) 280 5670

The Royal Marine Hotel, which has been operating since 1828, accommodates both leisure and business travellers by Dublin Bay. With 228 modern rooms, including suites, each space features air conditioning, an LCD TV, and free WiFi.

The Sansana Spa offers rejuvenating treatments, and the Pier Health Club boasts an 18-meter pool and fitness facilities.

Dining options include Dún Restaurant for delicious menus, Hardy’s Bar for bar fare and live music, and The Atrium and Bay Lounge for afternoon tea. Moreover, private dining spaces are available for special gatherings.

Rochestown Lodge Hotel

Website: https://www.rochestownlodge.com/ 

Address: Rochestown Avenue, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

Phone: +353 (0) 1 285 3555

Email: [email protected] 

Rochestown Lodge Hotel is a delightful option for a laid-back getaway near Dalkey. It’s also close to convenient spots like Dundrum Shopping Centre and Dalkey Castle Heritage Centre.  

When it comes to grub, the hotel’s restaurant offers a delightful spectrum, from a hearty Irish breakfast to a delectable dinner. Fancy a drink? The bar’s got you covered with snacks, beverages, live music, and sports events.

If you need to unwind, it’s best to go to their Leisure Club, complete with a gym, pool, jacuzzi, sauna, and steam room.