“In MY Dalkey I rejoice that so much is so close at hand,” says the writer Maeve Binchy in Dalkey: an anthology, “you could walk down from the DART calling into an art gallery, a photographic agency, a florist, a boutique and a hairdresser and that’s before you get to the main street. Then there are coffee shops greengrocers, butchers, a bookshop, a library, a supermarket, secretarial services, doctors, dentists, eye specialists, laundries, banks, takeaways, gift shops, a post office, off-licences, estate agents—all on one street. The street even has traffic lights in it so that now we can cross it less fearfully.
“Some people go shopping every day just for the pleasure of meeting neighbours. The coffee shops around Dalkey have meant that it is now possible to sit down and spend even more time watching the world go by. I know one man who goes out each day to shop, the journey takes him over an hour; he regards it as the high point of each day. In the evenings he goes out again to buy a newspaper or a lotto ticket and again he makes it into an epic outing. This way he meets neighbours and friends and keeps in touch with what’s happening.
“It’s a lovely place to grow old”, he said to me recently. And it is.
“It’s also a lovely place to be young in. I watch the girls coming up from Loreto in their uniforms, each one with hopes and dreams of what life will bring them. I watch the boys coming out of Harold Boys School eager for the journey to the match or for what the next day will bring.
“I never think of Dalkey as just a Desirable Area to live in, I think of it as a place full of memories, most of them very good and happy.
“A place where the DART can take us home from the big city and we can breathe our own sea air. Somewhere we are grateful to live without being smug, a little town with two magic harbours, and hills and views without equal in the land.
“The people I feel a twinge of sympathy for are those who come out here for the day or for a quick visit. They can sense it would be a great place to live.
“And they are right.
“If you couldn’t be happy in Dalkey then you’d be a pretty difficult person, impossible to please on any level.”
Maeve Binchy in Dalkey: an anthology, volume 2 (2009). Maeve Binchy (1940-2012), novelist and newspaper columnist and long-time Dalkey resident. She is one of an impressive number of writers with Dalkey associations, others include Flann O’Brien, Hugh Leonard, George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, Bernard Farrell, and John Millington Synge (to name but a few). I’ve been staying in this pleasant suburb of Dublin these past few weeks (during this wonderful heatwave), which is why I’ve gone all Dalkey. Following are some more Dalkey photos which I hope will give something of a sense of the place.