One of seven fortified houses built by merchants in the Middle Ages when Dalkey served as Dublin’s main port, this 14th-century castle is the only one to survive fully intact. It now serves as a tourist attraction, with a heritage center, historical exhibits, costumed actors, and a gallery showcasing Dalkey’s literary connections.
Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre can be visited as part of a 40-minute guided tour led by costumed actors. Tours run every 30 minutes, and provide access to the castle, the early Christian church of St. Begnet’s, and the Writers’ Gallery, which features works from artists including Samuel Beckett and Bono.
The castle is a common stop-off on organized day tours from Dublin city center. These tours typically include other nearby sights, such as Killiney Hill, which offers spectacular views of Dublin Bay, and Johnnie Fox’s, a traditional pub in the Dublin Mountains. Entrance to Dalkey Castle is also included with some Dublin sightseeing passes. Dalkey Castle also offers seasonal tours themed around Christmas and Halloween, as well as guided walks around Dalkey town.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Dalkey Castle is a must for history buffs and families.
- There is no café on-site, but plenty can be found nearby within the town itself.
- The castle is partially wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre is situated in Dalkey, a seaside suburb of Dublin. To get here from the city center, take the southbound Dart train from Connolly, Pearse, or Tara stations. The journey will take about 30 minutes. The castle is just 5 minutes from Dalkey station on foot.
When to Get There
Dalkey Castle is open year-round. The castle is quietest midweek. The best time to visit is during summer, as warm, dry weather means visitors can take advantage of the beautiful coastal walks nearby.
Dalkey’s Literary and Musical Connections
The Writers’ Gallery at Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre celebrates the town’s literary and artistic connections. Samuel Beckett was born here in Dalkey, James Joyce lived in neighboring Sandycove, while scores of other well-known Irish writers, such as Maeve Binchy, George Bernard Shaw, and Joseph O’Connor, have lived in the Dalkey area. Ireland’s musicians are also well-represented among Dalkey’s local population, with Bono of U2 fame and Enya both choosing to call Dalkey home.