Wednesday, July 29, 2015

D is for Dalkey

Paula’s characters visit the small town of Dalkey in Ireland.

In ‘Irish Inheritance’, Guy and Jenna visited Dalkey to meet with a friend of their benefactor. I chose Dalkey because it’s a place I know very well. It is now considered  to be a suburb of Dublin, but it was originally a town in its own right and still retains a ‘small town’ feel about it. Its main street houses a variety of shops, serving both the locals and the tourists. There are plenty of pubs and restaurants too.

Here are some extracts from ‘Irish Inheritance’ – with photos to illustrate them.

As they reached a road junction, Guy peered through the windscreen. “Gee, they put so many different signs on every signpost here.”
Jenna pointed. “Town centre, turn right. No, not here, it’s a one-way system. Next right—now right again—and now left.”
Guy laughed as he drove around the small block of houses and shops, and turned into the town’s main street. “For a moment I thought we were going around in a complete circle.”
They found a parking place on a side street and Guy held her hand as they strolled along the main street. When they reached a bookstore, he stopped. “Want to go in here?”
She grinned. “I was about to say the same thing.” It was another example of how attuned they seemed to be.

A familiar sight in Ireland - so many signs on one signpost!
Dalkey's main street with the bookshop on the right -
as it was a few years ago, but sadly no longer a bookshop now
* * * * *
“Where to now?”
“The man in the bookstore mentioned Lily’s café. It would be fun to go in there like Helena did.”
They continued along the main street, but didn’t find the café.
“Let’s ask in the castle type building across there,” Guy said. “The sign says it’s an information centre.”
Jenna rolled her eyes. “Guy, what you call a castle type building is a real castle. It dates from the fifteenth century, according to my guide book.”
He grinned. “Even better.”
They went into the ground floor room of the square stone tower, which contained a small souvenir shop as well as an information desk.
The middle-aged woman at the desk smiled at them. “Welcome to Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre. Can I help you?”

Dalkey's main street (photo taken from the castle)
The 'castle-type' building, according to Guy
* * * * *

An hour later, they leant on a low stone wall overlooking the small harbour, which was surrounded by rough-hewn walls with a narrow outlet to the sea. It was high tide, and half a dozen sailing dinghies bobbed about, while gulls wheeled and dived above them, filling the air with their raucous cries. Several hundred yards out from the coast, a long narrow island, its greenness broken by rocky outcrops, provided the background.
“I guess Helena sat over there to paint her picture,” Guy said, pointing to the opposite side where a flight of stone steps led down into the water, “and she probably came here on a summer evening to get the light and shade. She obviously had a great eye for balance and composition.”
Coliemore Harbour with a view of Dalkey Island
* * * * *
They reached the large white Victorian house midway along a terrace of similar houses, and he squeezed Jenna’s hand as he pressed the old-fashioned brass doorbell. “This is going to be interesting.”
She grinned. “Fingers crossed.”
His heart sank slightly when a twenty-something woman with long auburn hair opened the door.
“Ms. Connor?” he said.
She laughed. “No, no, I’m Kate Leary, Maeve’s granddaughter. You must be Guy and Jenna. Grandma’s looking forward to meeting you. Come in.”
Kate led them into a conservatory at the back of the house where a petite white-haired woman with bright blue eyes rose from one of the wicker chairs.
“Guy and Jenna. I’m so pleased to meet you.”
After they’d shaken hands, Guy glanced through the wide window of the conservatory. “What a spectacular view, Mrs. Connor.”
Maeve smiled. “Call me Maeve, and you’re not the first person to say that, Guy. Helena always said she bought this house solely for this view of Killiney Bay. It’s been compared with the Bay of Naples. Some folk say it’s even better.”
Guy let his gaze travel along the sweeping curve of the bay to the rounded headland and two peaks on the far side. “Were those two mountains once volcanoes?”
 Maeve laughed. “If they were, they’re extinct now. We call them Great Sugar Loaf and Little Sugar Loaf. In winter, when they’re covered with snow, they do resemble piles of sugar. Anyhow, do sit down and Kate will make us some tea.”
Sorrento Terrace, otherwise known as Millionaire's Row
(where Maeve Connor lived)


View of KIlliney Bay - similar to the view from
Maeve's conservatory!


  1. I wish I'd seen these photos before I read your book. Actually they make me want to read again - it was such a good read anyway. Your research is unbelievable.

    1. No research needed for this part of the story, Margaret - I relied on my memories (and my photos!)

  2. I love the setting research you do for your books. And your descriptions make them come alive, even without the photos!

    1. It's easy to describe them when I've seen them so many times.

  3. Once again, thanks for a vicarious visit.

    I LOVE how you've matched portions of the story with real-life pictures! I might have to steal that idea for my web-site! LOL

    1. When Irish Inheritance was first published, I put some location photos on my blog - and also on a Pinterest board, if you want to take a look

    2. Thanks! I'm going to pop over there right now. :)

  4. Knowing the setting makes your stories pop with believability, Paula.
    The pictures are super, but so is the place. So picturesque.

    1. This is why I like to set my stories in places I know. Dalkey is a fairly ordinary little Irish town, but it does have its own character!

  5. Great to be able to see the places you saw when writing this

    1. Thanks, Carol, I love using places I know.