DALKEY ISLAND

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

DALKEY ISLAND, in the parish of DALKEY, barony of UPPERCROSS, county of DUBLIN, and province of LEINSTER. This island is situated in 53° 16' 40" (N. Lat.), and 6° 5' 20" (W. Lon.), and forms the southeastern extremity of the bay of Dublin. Tradition states that the citizens of Dublin retired to it when that place was visited by the great plague, in 1575; and in modern times they have occasionally resorted hither for convivial purposes. Prior to 1798, it was the custom annually in the month of June to elect a mock king of Dalkey, with various officers of state, whose proceedings were recorded in a newspaper called the "Dalkey Gazette." The island is separated from the mainland of the parish by a channel called Dalkey Sound, about 1200 yards long, and 330 wide at its S. E., and 230 at its N. W. entrance. It was formerly considered a very safe and convenient harbour, and was the principal anchorage for ships resorting to the ancient sea-port of Dalkey. In 1815, it was surveyed as a site for an asylum harbour for the bay, and disapproved. The island contains about 25 statute acres of land, one-half of which affords good pasturage for cattle. The only inhabitants are a few artillerymen stationed at the battery, which mounts three 24 pounders, and has on its summit a martello tower, which is entered from the top. Here are the ruins of a church, dedicated to St. Benedict; and kistvaens, or stone coffins, of rude workmanship and great antiquity have been found near the shore. Near the church is a well, said to be efficacious in ophthalmic complaints; and some medicinal plants are found on the island. To the N. W. of Dalkey are the Clara, Lamb, and Maiden rocks, in the cavities of which an abundance of shell fish is found; and to the N. E. are the small islands called the Muglins.

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