DALKEY, a parish

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

DALKEY, a parish, in the barony of UPPERCROSS, county of DUBLIN, and province of LEINSTER, 6 ¾ miles (S. E.) from Dublin; containing 1402 inhabitants, of which number, 544 are in the village. This place, which is situated at the eastern extremity of the bay of Dublin, was formerly a town of considerable importance, and appears to have had a charter of incorporation at an early period, as, from an enrolment in the 33rd of Edward III., dated Feb. 8th, 1358, "the provost and bailiffs in the town of Dalkey, the sheriff of Dublin, and the bailiff of Senkyl, were commanded to allow the master of a Spanish ship arrested by them to depart." In 1414, Sir John Talbot, Lord Furneval, afterwards the celebrated Earl of Shrewsbury, landed here to take upon him the viceregal government; and, in 1558, the Earl of Sussex embarked his forces at this port to oppose the Scottish invaders at the isle of Rathlin, on the coast of Antrim. Fairs and markets were established in 1480, for the encouragement of foreigners, who resorted hither to trade with the inhabitants; and seven strong castles were erected for their protection and the security of their merchandise. The harbour was extremely favourable to the commerce of the town; vessels could lie in safety under shelter of the neighbouring island, by which they were protected from the north-east winds, and from the depth of water they could sail at any hour.

The tolls of the fairs and markets were appropriated to the paving and improvement of the town, which, till the latter part of the 17th century, continued to be a place of great commercial resort, especially for the merchants of Dublin; but since that period its harbour has been abandoned for others of greater convenience, and the town has dwindled into an insignificant village. It is situated at the base of a high hill, commanding extensive views over the bay of Dublin, and in a neighbourhood abounding with picturesque and diversified scenery. Four of its ancient castles have been entirely destroyed, and the remains of three others, which have been long dismantled, convey striking indications of their former importance; one has been converted into a private dwelling-house, another is used as a store, and the third as a carpenter's shop. A twopenny post has been established, and there is a constabulary police station in the village. Here is also a station of the coast-guard, the limits of which extend from Dalkey Head to Irishtown, within which are batteries at Dalkey island, Sandy Cove, and Kingstown, and nine martello towers.

The parish comprises 444 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act, and valued at £703. 6. 6 ½. per arm. A great portion of the land is open common, an extensive tract of which, adjoining the village, has, during the continuance of the public works at Kingstown harbour, been allowed to remain in the occupation of many who put themselves in possession of it, and have sold their assumed portions of it to others. At the farthest extremity of the common, on the coast opposite Dalkey island, are lead mines, which were formerly worked to some extent, but are now discontinued. On the common are the government quarries, which are worked by Messrs. Henry, Mullins and McMahon, under a contract for the completion of Kingstown Harbour. The largest blocks of granite blasted by gunpowder are lowered to the long level of the railway by three inclined planes. Dalkey common is celebrated in the old ballad of the "Kilruddery Hunt," written in 1774, by Mr. Fleming, and of which a copy was presented by the Earl of Meath to George IV., on his visit to Dublin in 1821. The marine views are exceedingly beautiful, and the general scenery of the neighbourhood, which is richly diversified, is enlivened by numerous pleasing villas; the principal are Sorrento, the seat of the Rev. R. Mac Donnell, F.T.C.D., commanding a beautiful view of the sea, with Wicklow and Bray Head, the Sugar Loaves, Djouce, Shankill, part of the Dublin mountains, and the beautiful bay of Killiney; Braganza Lodge, of — Armstrong, Esq.; Barn Hill, of Mrs. Johnston; Shamrock Lodge, of T. O'Reilly, Esq.; Charleville, of C. Brabazon, Esq.; and Coolamore, of Jeremiah Hanks, Esq., from which is an extensive view of the bay of Dublin.

There are also numerous pleasant cottages, commanding fine views of the sea, which are let during the summer to respectable families. It is a perpetual curacy, in the diocese of Dublin, and is part of the union of Monkstown; the rectory forms part of the corps of the deanery of Christ-church, Dublin. The tithes amount to £21.9.8., of which two-thirds are payable to the dean, and the remainder to the curate. The church is in ruins: it was situated in the village, and appears to have been originally a very spacious structure. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Kingstown. A national school is maintained by subscription, for which a good school-house was erected by subscription, in 1824; and there is also a school on the common, supported by small payments from the children aided by subscription; in these are about 190 boys and 150 girls. About the commencement of the present century, a circle of granite blocks enclosing a cromlech was standing on the common; but the cromlech and the stones surrounding it were blasted with gunpowder and carried away, to furnish materials for the erection of a martello tower on the coast. About five years since, in ploughing the grounds of Quatrebras, a stone grave was discovered, in which was a perfect skeleton; the proprietor of the estate, Capt. Nicholson, would not suffer it to be disturbed, and it still remains in the same state as when first found. Numerous ancient copper coins have been discovered in the same field.

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