Dalkey Island

Dalkey Island has not been affected by developments and changes, to the extent that other areas within the county have. Instead it has remained largely unspoiled and uninhabited. The Irish name Deilginis means Thorn Island and the island is said to resemble a thorn shape. A group of people from Dalkey combined with the Urban District Council to purchase the island from the British Government at a cost of £500.

The island has an ancient history. The first mention of Dalkey is in the Annals of the Four Masters. Evidence has been found of a promontory fort on Dalkey Island.

There is a ruin of an ancient church on Dalkey Island called St. Begnet's Church. It is in very good condition and is Early Christian. The church is believed to date from the ninth or tenth century and is supposedly dedicated to St. Begnet. Saint Begnet lived in the sixth century but little else is known about him.

The church is built on a stone plinth. Some characteristics include a flat lintelled west doorway and antaes (wall projections). The fireplace in the church was not added until the nineteenth century when men building the Martello tower on the island took shelter there. An excavation was carried out in 1958 and revealed two burial sites dating from the sixth and the eleventh century. The church has unusually high walls and it is thought that there may have been an area for the priest to live in at the top of the church. The interior of the church was altered during the 1800s.

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