FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Dun Laoghaire offers a roller coaster programme of festivals and events, ranging from summertime regattas to harbour swims, from a Mad Hatters Tea Party in April to an Opera Festival in July. Watch out too, for the Dalkey Book Festival in June, the Monkstown Puppet Festival in October, and the annual Christmas markets. Every year brings something new to the coastline.
CULTURE & HERITAGE
The Martello Towers at Seapoint and Sandycove were built to protect against a possible Napoleonic invasion, though the Sandycove tower is best-known for its links with James Joyce. It features in the opening chapter of Ulysses, and houses a museum dedicated to the
author (April-August). In Dalkey, visitors moseying down Castle Street are often surprised to find two 16th century castles facing one another amidst a lively strip of shops, restaurants and bars. Together with St. Begnet’s Church, Goat Castle houses the Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre.
This stretch of coast isn’t shy of shopping treats. Take Blackrock’s Main Street, with its buzzing shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs. Take malls like the Frascati Centre or The Dun Laoghaire and Bloomfields Shopping Centres in Dun Laoghaire. Monkstown hosts a village market on Saturdays, Sundays brings a farmers market to the People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire, and Blackrock Market
sells just about anything worth having year-round. Its smorgasbord of stalls is located down an alleyway off Main Street.
Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey, Blackrock and Monkstown began life as fishing villages, and you don’t have to look far to find scrumptious seafood today. From beer-battered catch of the day to crab claws and home-smoked salmon crostini, the sea will give you an appetite, and cull it too. Of course, seafood isn’t the only show in town. Dun Laoghaire is bursting with bistros, gastro-pubs and cafes ditto Dalkey, where Castle Street and the Coliemore Road throw up one dining option after another. The Monkstown Road is another
foodie strip with several styles of cuisine.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Dublin to Dun Laoghaire line was Ireland’s first railway. Opened in 1834, the original track ran some 10 miles from Westland Row to the West Pier in what was then Kingstown.
Travelling to Blackrock, Monkstown, Dun Laoghaire and Dalkey couldn't be easier. All four coastal towns have stops along the Dart line, and trains leave every five minutes or so during peak times, and every 15-20 minutes off-peak. The trip to Dun Laoghaire takes 20 minutes.
Some 1.5 million people walk Dun Laoghaire's East Pier every year, touching (or kicking!) the 19th-century battery at the harbour mouth before turning back towards shore. Dublin is a coastal city, but Dubliners spend little time by the coast. That means you can visit Killiney Hill, explore beaches like White Rock near Dalkey, or take the plunge at the famous 40 Foot at Sandycove, whilst rarely having to contend with crowds. Bliss. If you don't fancy getting into the water, there are plenty of ways to get onto it. Why not take to the ocean with www.gosailing.ie Youa may even see Dublin Bay's resident bottlenose dolphins...
Yachts bobbing in the bay. The sizzle of fish in a seaside restaurant. Buggies rolling through a Victorian park. The carnivalesque sights and sounds of a festival in full-swing. Markets you stumble into by chance, and stumble out of with a first edition, French pastry, or vintage dress.
Dun Laoghaire, Blackrock, Dalkey and Monkstown are all about coastal cosmopolitanism. The beauty of a visit, however, is that you can still sense the fishing villages and historic settlements at their core. Think of Dun Laoghaire’s Victorian pier, its classical lines extending into Dublin Bay. Think of snappy shops next to Georgian homes in Blackrock, castles side-by-side with contemporary restaurants in Dalkey, or literature, food and music mashed-up in a summer festival. That's what makes Dublin's southern coastline the perfect place to escape. A short Dart ride is all it takes to whiz from the city centre, shoot between mountains and sea, and immerse yourself in one or all of these coastal gems. Isn't it time you made the trip?
The Harbour, designed by the great Scots Engineer John Rennie, the foundation stone of the harbour was laid in 1817 and constructed with granite from Dalkey Quarry delivered by a funicular railroad. An outstanding architectural and engineering feat of its day, it was one of the biggest man-made harbours in western Europe, and described as one of the finest artificial harbours in the world.
East Pier & West Pier. The East Pier is the more popular of the two piers for walkers. It is 1,300 metres long and includes a monument commemorating Captain Boyd and an anemometer, the West Pier is 1,500 metres long, and is home to the Irish nautical College.
Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre
Dalkey Heritage Town is just a short seven minute trip from Dun Laoghaire by DART or by road. All year round Dalkey Castle has Living History Live Theatre Performances as part of a Guided Tour every half hour. There are costumed actors on site to enlighten, engage, amuse and entertain you. Experienced guides and actors will help you to explore and examine the features of the Fortified Town House/Castle and early Christian Church & Graveyard that are still in evidence from much earlier times. Open all year round on six days per week. (Closed on Tuesdays). Check availability in advance as tours can be fully booked by groups.
James Joyce Tower, Sandycove museum dedicated to the great literary figure and author of Ulysses whose opening scene takes place at the top of the tower with Stately, plump Buck Mulligan coming from the stairhead. James Joyce stayed in the tower briefly in August 1904.
The Martello Tower, built in 1804, is one of a series erected along the coastline by the British for defence against a threatened invasion by Napoleon.
Killiney Hill Park, enjoy the spectacular views of Killiney Bay and inland towards the mountains and the valley of the river Liffey, or northwards as far as the Cooley Peninsula, on a good day! On the south side of the hill are the remains of an ancient church, The Druid's Chair, an Obelisk erected in the eighteenth century and an old semaphore signalling station.
The Metals A walkway alongside the railway line that will take you direct to Dalkey Quarry in Killiney Hill Park. The route was originally built to transport granite which was used to construct the harbour in Dun Laoghaire. Dalkey Island Church Dedicated to St. Begnet, this is a very important example of one of the earliest stone churches built in Ireland during the 10th century. Note the cross carved on the rock-face opposite the doorway of the church.
Blackrock gets its name from the black rock that lies off its shore. A vibrant village with a wide choice of pubs, restaurants, shops and two shopping centres; Frascati Centre and Blackrock Shopping Centre.
National Maritime Museum
Ireland's National Maritime Museum is situated in the Old Mariners Church. The museum's greatest artefact is probably the building itself as it is one of a few custom built places of worship for sailors remaining intact in the world to-day. There are interesting mechanical exhibitions, including first class artefacts on many aspects of the
Irish maritime, wildlife around the Irish coastline including fish, birds and small animals, a maritime art gallery, a recreated ship's radio room and a Titanic exhibition.
Generally called the George IV monument, it commemorates the departure of George IV from the Harbour in 1821 and is situated near the harbour on the Queen's Road.
The Shackleton Exhibition
Relive the true life story of Irish-born explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition of 1914-1917 at the Shackleton Endurance Exhibition in Dun Laoghaire. On display are over 150 photographs taken by the Expedition photographer Frank Hurley, a full size exact replica of the James Caird; the lifeboat that proved so critical to the rescue, and much more. The exhibition is open daily from 11am-5pm and is based in The Ferry Terminal Building until November 2014.
The Dun Laoghaire People's Park CoCo Market is on every Sunday. The People's Park has been open to the public since 1890 and features fine examples of Victorian architecture such as the Gate Lodge, Tea Rooms, Bandstand featuring original gaslight standards and a playground. The Market with over 70 vendors providing a wide range of products from international cuisine to hand made jewellery and crafts is open at 11am every Sunday.
Dun Laoghaire Map and Tourist Information
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