Dalkey Castle is located about 30 minutes by car southeast of Dublin and is a great place to explore and soak up some Irish heritage and history.
The castle complex is also a heritage center whose key features include St Begnet's 10th century church and cemetery, a 15th century medieval townhouse, an exhibition centre and an art gallery. It is not a huge castle but it is typical of many medieval Irish castles.
The exhibition building, overlooking the cemetery and attached to the castle, is well designed and full of information about the history of the Dalkey area. Its main feature is the prehistoric Rathdown Slab, which was an ancient burial marker found in the cemetery.
Large information boards trace Dalkey history back to 4500BC. Tributes are also given to some of Dalkey's most famous writers including George Bernard Shaw. James Joyce one of Ireland's most famous writers used the Dalkey setting in his book, 'Ulysses'. Multi-media techniques, including a 10 minute video and scale models are used to help visualize the past.
The castle was used to store cargo from ships, which visited Dublin Bay. There is still evidence of the defense fortifications used to protect the goods. You are permitted to climb to the battlements where you can get a great view of the surrounding area.
Cemeteries are interesting places to wander through as they often give an insight into an area's past. Here you will notice how many of the graves relate to the devastating famines which plagued so many parts of Ireland.
Actors are employed to re-enact life in medieval times. These performances are held regularly throughout the day in the summer time and are presented by the Living History Theatre Company.
Several different guided walks can be taken at certain times of the year. If you require tours outside the normal schedule times, you will need to make arrangements before you arrive. The guides are very knowledgeable about the Dalkey area and impart their information in a fun and interesting way.
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