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A Family History of Religious Migration
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Dalkey County Dublin, Ireland

The Walter Cheevers family of Dalkey Ireland.

Dalkey Castle, a fifteenth century Towerhouse, 
called Goat Castle after the Cheevers' family 
who lived there in the 1600s; 

St Begnet's Church & Graveyard is the oldest 
part of modern Dalkey, dating back to the tenth 

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9th - 10th Century

Property has a tenth century Church & Graveyard 
dedicated to St Begnet,
St Begnet's Church & Graveyard is the oldest part of modern Dalkey, dating 
back to the tenth century.  The Church features antae, a stoop, ambry and
one original window opening. The belfry had space for two bells which
were hand struck. St Begnet.s was a Catholic Parish Church up to the
beginning of the 1600s. It then served the Church of Ireland community 
until it was reported in ruins in the mid 1600s. Found in St Begnet.s
Graveyard was a Rathdown Slab, a pre-Christian burial marker.
Photo of Cemetery with Castle in view

15th Century

In the middle ages Dalkey acted as the port for Dublin. 
Seven towerhouses were built in Dalkey in the fifteenth 
century to store goods which were off-loaded from large 
ships anchored in Dalkey Sound. In Goat Castle, part of 
Dalkey Castle , you can still see the Machicolation and
Murder Hole which were defensive features of the Towerhouse. 

The former living quarters of Goat Castle underwent 
renovations where Victorian panelling and other inventions 
from the late 1800s were added.


1873 Photo of Dalkey Castle
1985 Photo of Dalkey Castle
1999 Photo of Dalkey Castle


Drawing of Dalkey Castle
Drawing of Dalkey Townhall Castle

Surrounding Counties Data

Text about how Dalkey was restored to Monkstown Parish.

Parish of Dalkey.
This parish which in the seventeenth century was included 
in the barony of Newcastle consists of the townlands of 
Dalkey and Dalkey Commons, together with Dalkey Island, 
Lamb Island, Maiden Rock, The Muglins, and Clare" Rock.

It contains the following objects of archaeo1ogical interest 
The Castles and ruined Church of Dalkey, and the ruined 
Church on Dalkey Island.

The Town of Dalkey

The modern Dalkey occupies the site of a fortified town, 
which began to decay some 400 years ago. Its port, was, 
in mediaeva1 times, not only the Kingstown of that age 
for travellers, but also the place of disembarkation for 
merchandise coming to Dublin, and the ancient town, which 
contained seven strong castles, was used as a safe place 
of storage for the goods until the merchants found it 
convenient to remove them to Dublin. Only two of the seven 
Castles now remain - one forms portion of Dalkey Town Hall; 
the other is a fairly complete ruin.

They were inspected by Mr. J. H. Parker, C.B., at the same 
time as Bullock Castle, and are, in his opinion, buildings 
of the same era. He describes the one since converted to 
the use of a Town Hall (pictured right) as a plain square 
tower-house, or castle, with a solid parapet, and small 
windows. At the southwest corner a staircase is corbelled 
out, and on the north side there is a garderobe turret, 
while from the parapet a chimney and small bartizan project.

The second castle (pictured left) then in the same condition 
as at present, he describes as similar to its companion; but, 
from the fact that its battlement is in the form of steps, he 
considered it to be a building of somewhat later date. It is 
provided with a staircase, which is carried through the vaulted 
lower storey in the thickness of the wall, and then leads into 
an octagonal turret, and, in the upper room, there is a fireplace
and garderobe.

Dalkey has a history, like Bullock, before its castles were 
built, and, until the beginning of the 19th century, rock 
monuments, dating from the time of the primitive inhabitants, 
were to be seen near the town. One of these, a cromlech, 
surrounded by a circle of upright stones, stood upon Dalkey 
Common; the other a great rock, known as Cloch Tobair Gailline, 
or the Rock of the Well of Gailline, overhung a sacred well on 
the top of Dalkey Hill. During the 8th century Dalkey was the 
scene of a battle between two Irish tribes, and Forgartach, son 
of Niall, King of Ireland, fell by the hand of Cinoeth, son of 
Ingalach, on its plain.

Doubtless the Danish invaders frequently landed at its port, 
and by them the Irish name of the place Delginis, or Thorn Island, 
was changed to Dalkey, which is Scandinavian in its origin. The 
English disembarked, so far as is known, near Waterford and Wexford, 
but, in 1171, while the Irish were besieging them in Dublin, a 
detachment of the Irish force was stationed at Dalkey, to guard its 
port where the Irish expected their Danish allies to land.

After the Conquest, Dalkey was granted, by Henry II., to 
Hugh de Lacy, Constable of Dublin, but was soon given by the latter 
to the See of Dublin. The Archbishops proved themselves worthy of the 
trust and, under them, the town rapidly developed. The right to hold 
a market in Dalkey every Wednesday, and a fair on the Feast of 
St. Begnet, the patron saint of the place, was granted to them, and, 
at the same time, power was given to them to levy tolls, to be applied 
to the improvement of the walls of the town and the harbour, similar to 
those enforced in Dublin.

Subsequently, a fair, which had been held at Powerscourt, was 
transferred there. The town was ruled by a provost and bailiffs, 
who had also authority over the port and who were sometimes appointed 
by the Archbishop, and sometimes by the Crown.

As regards the inhabitants, information is but meagre, and is only 
derived from the records of the Priory of the Holy Trinity, which had 
charge of the spiritualities of Dalkey, and owned some property in the 
town. In 1326, John Kendal, who supplied the Priory House at 
Kill-of-the-Grange with fish, was the tenant of the Priory at Dalkey, 
and a holding at Dalkey on the west side of the church, "looking from 
the sanctuary," which was given, in 1320, by Alice, wife of John de Dundrum, 
to Andrew FitzRichard, on his marriage to her daughter, as well as premises 
surrendered, in 1394, by Nicholas Pyn, and others leased, in 1439, by 
John Talbot, Lord of Feltrim, probably became portion of its property.

The port of Dalkey became more and more used as ships in-creased in 
size, and found the navigation of the Liffey impossible. To its port 
was consigned, in 1244, a cargo of deer, to stock the Royal park, at 
Glencree, and at its port, in 1303 and 1323, ships to convey 
reinforcements, and arms, and provisions for the expeditions against 
Scotland, were ordered to assemble.

In legal proceedings, with respect to duty on wines, in 1305, it 
was proved that ships were obliged to discharge portion of their 
cargo at Dalkey, before attempting to cross the bar of Dublin, and, 
in 1306, it was found that wine for the King, which proved of inferior 
quality, had been landed there from Bordeaux, and re-shipped to Skinburness, 
in Cumberland - a port much used during the Scottish wars - and that to 
this circumstance, entailing a prolonged voyage on stormy seas from Michaelmas 
to Epiphany, the deterioration of the wine was due.

Travellers of high position were constantly arriving and departing. 
In 1359, the officials of Dalkey were ordered to allow a Spanish ship 
to depart which had been detained for the conveyance of the Prior of the 
Priory of St. John of Jerusalem, who was then Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

In 1384, John Penros landed at Dalkey, on his arrival as Chief Justice of
Ireland, a position from which he was afterwards promoted to the English
Bench. In the following year Philip de Courtenay, Lord Deputy of Ireland,
disembarked there, as did two years later Sir John de Stanley, an ancestor
of the Earls of Derby, who was appointed Lieutenant of the Marquis of
Dublin. In 1414, Sir John Talbot, Lord of Furnival, and afterwards Earl of
Shrewsbury, landed there on his arrival as Lord Lieutenant. In 1427 and
1431, James Cornwalsh, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, who was "barbarously
and cruelly" murdered in the Castle of Baggotrath, landed there, after
spending, on both occasions, six months in England, on business of the
State. And, in 1488, Sir Richard Edgecombe, after he had accepted homage on
behalf of the King from the adherents of the pretender, Lambert Simnel,
sailed from Dalkey, having been escorted from Dublin by the Archbishop,
judges, and nobility.

The constant passenger traffic had disadvantages as well as advantages. A
pestilence, which devastated Ireland in the 14th century - killing, in
Dublin alone in four months, 14,000 persons - is said to have broken out at
Dalkey, whither it was conveyed by some passenger from the Sister Isle, and,
doubtless, almost depopulated the town.

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Dalkey rose to its greatest
importance. It was able to contribute 200 men at arms to the county levy,
and, in addition to weekly markets, seven fairs were annually held.

To a traveller coming over Killiney Hill on a fine summer's day, a pretty
picture then presented itself, as the town, with its busy port, broke upon
his view. Its walls, its castles, and its church stood out clearly in the
sunlight, and beneath them the blue water in the sound crowded with

It is one of the fair days, and as the traveller enters the town he finds
himself in an animated scene. The streets are crowded with persons intent on
business. Here is a Chester merchant just arrived with produce from the
English markets, anxious to sell; there is one of his Dublin brethren
equally anxious to buy. Along the causeway from the sea carts continually
arrive, laden with merchandise to await in the Castles convenient transport
to Dublin, and from a bark which has just entered the offing, there hurries
on horseback a messenger of State, with despatches for the Lord-Deputy,
while several other passengers follow.

The records of the Priory of the Holy Trinity continue to afford information
about the town. At the beginning of the 16th century, the Priory received
from Johanna Waring, widow of Peter Bartholomew, and their daughter, gifts
of land, and from James White, Chaplain of Dalkey, and Archdeacon of Armagh,
a house within the town.

In the latter half of the century the Chapter of the Cathedral, as the
Priory establishment had then become, leased various premises, including
eight houses, to Henry Walsh, of Suttonstown, who assigned them subsequently
to Alderman Walter Ball, of Dublin, and a holding on the west side of the
church to Thomas Morgan, who undertook to build a thatched house and to
supply the Dean, when in residence at Dean's Grange, with fish. St. Mary's
Abbey had also property in Dalkey, which, after the dissolution of that
house came, like Bullock, into the possession of Peter Talbot of Fassaroe.

Travellers still continued to use the port, and it was the one generally
chosen by the chief governors. In 1534, Sir William Skeffington; in 154S,
Sir Edward Bellingham; in 1553, Sir Anthony St. Leger; in 1565, Sir Henry
Sidney, whose crossing was delayed for two months by contrary winds, in 1584
Sir John Perrot and in 1599 the Earl of Essex, landed there; while in 1558
the Earl of Sussex selected it as the place of embarkation for the
expedition against the Scottish invaders in Ulster. It was also still used
for merchandise, and, in 1559, the Master of the Rolls, who engaged in the
manufacture of hats and tapestry, was allowed to export wool from the port
of Dalkey, in exchange for the materials he required for "these mysteries".

The close of the 16th century marks the disuse of Dalkey, and the adoption
of Ringsend as the port of Dublin, and from that time the town lost its
importance commercially, and soon became ruinous.

The principal residents then were the Morgans and the Dongans. The latter
were ancestors of the Earl of Limerick, who was attainted by William III.,
and were sons of John Dongan, Remembrancer of the Exchequer, who was leased,
in 1586, by the Chapter of Christ Church Cathedral, a moiety of a castle in

Later on Sir John Dongan, a grandson of the Remembrancer, and Henry Walsh,
were the chief inhabitants. Amongst other owners of property were the family
of Barnewall of Shankill; of Fagan of Bullock, who succeeded to Talbot's
property; of Bee, and of Kernan.

In the time of the Commonwealth only one of the seven castles was habitable,
and the population was returned as three English and forty-one Irish,
inhabiting thirteen houses. Captain Richard Newcomen, who has been mentioned
in connection with Bullock, was then the owner, but after the Restoration,
besides Christ Church Cathedral, we find the Fagans, the Walshes, the
Dongans, and the Wolverstons of Stillorgan, who had succeeded to the
property of the Barnewalls, in possession. Subsequently, the Duke of York,
afterwards James II., Viscount Fitzwilliam, and Sir Henry Talbot acquired
property in the town.

At the beginning of the 18th century, on the sale of the Irish estates of
James II., the possessions of that sovereign at Dalkey were bought by
Colonel Allen, of Stillorgan, now represented by the Earl of Carysfort. Some
years later, Eustace Budgell, one of the writers in the Spectator, was a
resident at Dalkey. He was a cousin of Joseph Addison, under whose wing he
came to Ireland, where he was appointed Under-Secretary of State, and,
subsequently, Accountant-General, with a seat in Parliament, as member for
Mullingar, a position which he held for only a few years. About the middle
of that century the owners of Dalkey were Mr. Bull, Sir William Mayne,
afterwards Baron Newhaven, son-in-law of the second Viscount Allen; and Mr.
Baldwin, who held under Christ Church.

Amongst the residents was Mr. Peter Wilson, a well-known bookseller, and
publisher of the Dublin Almanac or Directory of his day, who wrote a
charming description of Dalkey and its neighbourhood, to which reference has
already been made. He says that, in the year 1770, the town comprised,
besides the venerable ruins of the castles and of the church, some good
houses, and about twenty cabins, which "served indiscriminately for the
owners, their cattle, and their swine."

Within his recollection the street, owing to its rocky surface, had been
impassable for carriages, and difficult for a horse to traverse, but it had
been levelled, and the old road which ran on the north side of the town was
then only used on the occasion of funerals.

Of the castles, six, which were known as the Goat's Castle (now forming part
of the Town Hail); the House Castle, the Black Castle, Wolverston's Castle,
Dongan's Castle, and Archbold's Castle, remained. The House Castle had been
converted into a dwelling by Mr. Robert Barry; the Black Castle had been
made into a billiard-room; two more were inhabited by publicans; the fifth
was a stable, and the sixth formed part of a cottage.

The lead mines on the lands of Rochestown had been originally worked by a
firm, which had its smelting houses on Dalkey Common. These had been sold,
in 1757, after some hundred tons of lead ore had been raised, and were
reopened, about the year 1780, by Messrs. Darcy and Knox, but were soon
again in the market. A cotton factory, which, in 1781, was totally destroyed
by fire, had also been established in the town, on ground belonging to Mr.
Watson, of Bullock.

At the close of the 18th century, the principal inhabitants were Sir John
Hasler, Chamberlain to the Lord Lieutenant; Mr. William Macartney, father of
Sir John Macartney, of Rochestown, who had represented Belfast in Parliament
for many years; Mr. John Patrickson, and Miss Charlotte Brooke, authoress of
"Reliques of Irish Poetry." There was then a scheme to build a crescent of
houses, and to construct a bathing-place, as well as to make the present
road from Kingstown to Dalkey, but building to any extent did not commence
until some thirty years later, when speculators were attracted to Dalkey in
hope of finding gold, and found wealth, not in ore, but in the value of the
building sites.

Dalkey Island

The ruined church, for such undoubtedly is the structure on the northern end
of Dalkey Island, is coeval with and similar in construction to that of
Kill-of-the-Grange. It has a primitive doorway and window, and its side
walls project beyond the end ones, as do those of Kill Church, forming
pilasters. The belfry is a later addition; and a fireplace and enlarged
doorway and window in the south wall were made by the workmen employed in
the construction of the Martello Tower, who used it as their dwelling. Near
the church there is a sacred well, and on one of the rocks a curious cross
is engraved.

Before the Christian era, according to the Four Masters, in the year of the
world 3501, a dun, or fort, was erected, on Dalkey Island, by Sedgha, a
Milesian chieftain, of great renown. During the Danish invasions the island
was used as a place of refuge. Coibhdeanach, Abbot of Cillachoidh, was
drowned near it in 938, while fleeing from the Norsemen; and the few Danes
who escaped from Dublin, in 942, when it was destroyed by the Irish, fled to
the island in ships.

The church, which is supposed to have been dedicated to St. Begnet, the
patron saint of Dalkey, who possibly retired from the worldly pleasures of
the mainland to the island, indicates, by its state of preservation, use in
the later middle ages; but nothing is recorded of the history of the island
from the 12th century, when it was given by Hugh de Lacy to the See of
Dublin, until the 17th century, when it was destitute of inhabitants and
used for grazing of cattle.

In the succeeding century it saw some changing scenes, and was the subject
of various projects. In 1738 it was selected by Lord and Lady Tullamore,
then living at Dunleary, as the scene of an entertainment, to celebrate the
Battle of the Boyne, at which many loyal toasts were drunk.

In 1766 it saw the bodies of two noted pirates hanging in an iron case on
the adjacent Muglin rocks. And towards the close of the century, it was made
the object for boating excursions by the Viceroys while staying at Blackrock
House, and was the scene of extraordinary revels, presided over by "His
facetious Majesty, Stephen the First, King of Dalkey, Emperor of the
Muglins, Prince of the Holy Island of Magee, Elector of Lambay and Ireland's
Eye, Defender of his own faith and Respecter of all others, Sovereign of the
illustrious Order of the Lobster and Periwinkle." It was suggested as the
basis of a harbour and the site of a prison, and during the terror of French
invasion, was guarded by some troops and a few small guns.

Ecclesiastical History

Adjacent to the castle, now incorporated in the Town Hall, stands the ruined
church of Dalkey. The remains comprise a nave and chancel, and, although the
church was evidently rebuilt, still include a primitive doorway and window.
The most remarkable feature of the ruins, however, is the belfry on the
western end, and a flight of steps, by which it is approached. It has
openings for two bells, and it has been suggested, from the facility for
access to them, that they were sounded by being struck and not by being
tolled. In the graveyard, at least one stone with concentric markings,
supposed by some to be of Pagan origin, has been discovered.

The church was dedicated to St. Begnet the Virgin, the patron saint of
Dalkey, who is supposed to have flourished about the 7th century, and whose
festival falls on the 12th November. After the English Conquest it was
assigned to the Priory of the Holy Trinity, but, as mentioned in the history
of Kill-of-the-Grange subsequently formed portion of the prebend of
Clonkeen, in St. Patrick's Cathedral. It was restored to the Priory in the
middle of the 13th century, and was, in 1324, one of the churches over which
the Archdeacon of Dublin demanded a right of visitation. He cited "the
discreet man, the Chaplain of Dalkey," to appear before him, and, on
resistance being offered to him, pronounced sentence of excommunication on
all concerned in the opposition.

In the 16th century, on the dissolution of the Priory, the church was
assigned to the Dean of the newly-founded Cathedral, and we find amongst its
chaplains, in 1524, James White, Archdeacon of Armagh; in 1566, John
Sheridan, and, in 1587, Morgan Byrne. They had also to serve the parish of
Killiney, and were provided with a house and had a right of fishing. At the
close of that century the tithes in consideration of assistance given in
re-building the Cathedral spire, were leased by the Chapter to Richard
Fagan, of Bullock.

The opening of the 17th century found the church in a ruinous condition, and
the only attendants at the services, excepting in the fishing season, when
English and Scotch fishermen resorted to Dalkey, were the curate's family.
Amongst those who held the cure, at a stipend of 4 a year, were, in 1615,
the Rev. Owen Ellis, the curate of Kill-of-the-Grange; in 1630, the Rev.
William Morris Lloyd, the curate of Monkstown; in 1640, the Rev. John
Wilson, who was forced by the rebels to fly to Dublin, and there died from
"want of relief in his sickness"; and, in 1642, the Rev. James Bishop, a
Fellow of Trinity College, who was ordained that year. Bishop was the last
of its curates. After the Restoration the parish was united to Monkstown,
and the Church of St. Begnet has not since been used.

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