In three days in Dublin I found myself hanging out in Dalkey two afternoons after sunset. One day I walked from the Radisson Blu St. Helen’s Hotel in Booterstown to Dalkey, but the early 4:11 pm sunset kept me from walking the final mile or so around Sorrento Point to Killiney Beach. The second trip started at Killiney Beach DART station an hour before sunset where I walked Bono and Enya’s neighborhood Killiney, County Dublin and around Sorrento Point to Dalkey and Finnegan’s Pub before DARTing back to Booterstown and the Radisson Blu St. Helen’s and off to the airport.
Years ago I read that Bono of U2 lived in Dalkey, in the southern coastal part of Dublin Bay and County Dublin. I stayed in B&Bs in past Ireland trips around Dublin Airport, north of the city center in the towns of Portmarnock and Malahide with lovely sea views. North Dublin was a scary place to me in the late 1990s when I rode the bus through the streets to the city center. Dublin locals told me the decade long Celtic Tiger economic boom from 1998 to 2008 upscaled North Dublin. Dalkey, Sorrento Point and Killiney Hill and beach have long been upscale neighborhoods for the Dublin area. The area is described as the place for the posh, privileged class and the ‘Hollywood Hills of Ireland’. I wanted to see where Irish superstars like Bono and Enya choose to live in Ireland.
It was a beautiful day.
There was not a cloud in the sky on December 2, 2014 when I hiked five or six miles along Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk in County Wicklow. I found myself at the Greystones DART station around 2:30pm and with a little more than 90 minutes before sunset, I bought a ticket to Killiney Beach with a plan to complete the missing piece of the coast in my walk two days earlier when I walked the coast of south Dublin Bay from Radisson Blu St. Helen’s in Booterstown to Dalkey on a gray overcast day. On that first trip, I caught the DART train in Dalkey back to Booterstown. Back in the St. Helen’s hotel I learned Bono and his neighbors, like Enya and The Edge, live south of Dalkey above Killiney Beach. With an hour of daylight, on a clear day, I got off the train in Killiney Beach and hiked the Killiney Beach to Sorrento Point to the same street into Dalkey I had walked two days before.
It was a beautiful day with a brilliant sunset behind the Wicklow Mountains.
Killiney Beach, County Dublin
The DART train Killiney Beach station is near the homes of U2’s Bono and famed Irish singer Enya. A quick google search reveals the home locations of Enya and Bono on Killiney Hill. Bono’s property runs up against the coastal DART train track. I snapped a couple of photos of the hillside and figured I would be able to see Bono’s house in my picture.
Star Gazing at Houses on Killiney Hill
Enya’s house is Manderley Castle, with the castle top seen to the left of the Killiney Hill obelisk in my photo. Judge Robert Warren originally built the castle in 1840 as Victoria Castle named for the young queen. The castle was gutted by fire in 1928 and then restored by Sir Thomas Power of the Irish whiskey family behind Powers Gold Label. He renamed the estate Ayesha Castle. Enya purchased the castle estate in 1997 for €3.8 million. I think Bono’s house is the large white home on the right side of my picture.
I didn’t try to get any closer to star gaze at houses. My objective was the view from Killiney Hill. The million euro view from Killiney Hill was free.
Killiney Hill forms the southern boundary of Dublin Bay. Killiney Hill Park was made a public park in June 1887 in honor of Queen Victoria’s 50th Jubilee, by Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, second in line of succession and grandson of Queen Victoria. Prince Albert Victor died before his father and grandmother and never became King.
One of the best views in Dublin is said to be from the top of Killiney Hill where the obelisk stands. Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel is the old Killiney Castle on the Dublin Bay side of the hill. I considered staying at Fitzpatricks Castle Hotel, but the TripAdvisor reviews were mixed on the hotel and my room at Radisson Blu St. Helen’s was $40 less.
The seaside beaches of south County Dublin developed as 19th century Victorian resorts once the railroad was built along the coast in the 1840s and 1850s. The DART rail tracks from Dublin hug the coast all the way to Greystones, County Wicklow, a few miles south of Bray Head.
Sorrento House is on the real estate market. I questioned a man walking his dog on Killiney Beach, who did not appear to be Bono or The Edge, and asked if there is a stairway at the end of the beach? And I also asked about the large white building on the point? Was it once a hotel?
He told me it is a private residence and currently for sale and something about it built as eight Georgian townhouses. When he said the price was 12 million euros, I thought WOW!, those are California prices for 1/8th of a building. Then, I learned Sorrento House is actually the entire building remodeled from eight units into one large house.
Sorrento House, Sorrento Terrace, Dalkey, Co. Dublin
€12,000,000 – 6 Bed Semi-Detached House 714 m² / 7685 ft² For Sale.
Sorrento House was built in 1829. Originally it was meant to be a row of 22 townhouses, but work was interrupted by the Irish famine and only 8 units were built. You can read the history of Sorrento House in this detailed piece from Dublin’s Great Estates blog.
Back to Killiney Beach and an eyesore on the beach where former tea houses are now called crack houses. In Dun Laoghaire two days before, I passed by 19th century Victorian seawater baths that were closed down in the 1970s and sit on the waterfront cordoned off by fences. Large pieces of concrete infrastructure are expensive to dismantle and there has to be development incentive to tackle those projects.
There is a pedestrian bridge over the DART train tracks. This is the only photo I snapped of the derelict Victorian era tea houses cordoned off by a weak looking metal fence. When searching Killiney Beach online, I came across this headline that had me looking for my photo. A drugs ‘hell hole’ is blighting one of Ireland’s most beautiful seaside resorts near the homes of stars such as Bono and Enya.
That $15 million Sorrento House has one of Ireland’s premier breathtaking sea views of Bray Head and the location is within easy access to Dublin city. You can also look east to the drugs hellhole on Killiney Beach. I didn’t see any obvious junkies during my walks in Killiney or Dalkey.
My sunset sea view from Killiney Hill was free.
The only vagabond on the streets I saw walking around Killiney and Dalkey was me. I stood outside people’s houses and snapped photos of the views.
The stairs at the north end of Killiney Beach access a railway crossover and a trail to a beach parking lot on the hillside and road above the rail tracks.
They say you can see Wales on a clear day. The only clouds in the sky all day were to the east.
Sorrento Point gets the very last bit of winter’s sun on the mainland in the southern sunlight. Dalkey Island holds the sun a few minutes longer, but there are no residences on the island.
Bray Head view from outdoor parking lot of Sorrento House. That is a Rolls Royce barely visible on the right edge.
There is a public park dedicated in 1894, directly across the street with trails and benches on the hill above Sorrento House.
The views of Dalkey Island in the last minutes of sun were dazzlingly brilliant.
The park above Sorrento Point was like being king of my world with the people’s view.
Watching sunset from Sorrento Point is an Irish memory emblazoned in my mind.
Dalkey Harbor used to be one of the main harbors of Dublin Bay. There is a tiny cove near Sorrento Point.
Round the corner walking north from Sorrento Point and the peninsula of north Dublin Bay, Howth comes into view.
Five minutes walk back into village center Dalkey and I dropped into the Sorrento Lounge of Finnegan’s Pub. There are several pubs visible from the central town info sign at the village crossroads. Finnegan’s is one of those pubs.
Of all the pubs in Ireland, why Finnegan’s?
I’d just spent an hour star gazing at white houses in Killiney and Dalkey, Ireland wondering where the rich and famous of Ireland live. There is a photograph on the wall of Finnegan’s Pub. I know which white house this woman lives in.