with wines, salt, corn and other merchandises freighted for Dublin from foreign ports, only at the port of the
, in the town of Dalkey, which is six level miles from Dublin, and out of the port and liberties of the city, at which place they are bound to unload, and there is no other port in the neighbourhood where they can ride so safe from storm, and the merchants were wont to buy their goods at said port of Dalkey as well as in the port of Dublin and other ports, to land same and to bring it up on cars or in boats to the city, and there land same and pay the customs." _ _ _
Dalton in his History of Dublin (circa 1400).
In 1451 the King appointed James Prendergast as baliff of Dalkey to receive all customs and dues, payable to the municipal authorities of Dublin, arising out of the sale of wares and merchandise at the fairs of Dalkey, of which seven were held each year; such proceeds to be applied towards the walling and paving of the streets of Dublin for which Dalkey was then the port. At around this time seven castles were built for the storage of the merchandise and as a defence against the native mauraders,of which only two are extant.
In 1538 Walter Cowley landed at Dalkey from Hollyhead with two hampers of treasure given for the King's service in Ireland; and in the centuries that followed many more noble English aristocrates, sent to subdue the Irish, arrived through this Collimore port protected from the sea by Dalkey island and from the natives by Dalkey Hill and castle.
In 1834 a gold rush started at Dalkey, perhaps because of the golden colour of the granite which had been mined for Dunleary pier, but no gold was found in 'them dar hills' of Dalkey; however much gold was earned in the subsequent land craze with the coming of the first railway in Ireland and Dalkey was transformed from being a poor village to a prestigious township.
In 1575 Dalkey island became the refuge for citizens fleeing from an outbreak of the black plague in Dublin; but, although it is well endowed with fresh-water springs it has very little pasture and is too windswept for a comfortable life. It quickly reverted to nature and a home only for sea-birds; being only 250 metre by 500 metre in area and about 300 metre from the mainland and with no building but a ruined church said to be built by St. Begnet.
Up to 1797 or thereabouts, once a year the citizens of Dalkey used to make a pilgrimage to St. Begnet's church on the Island to crown one of their number:
'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 Respector of all Others, Sovereign of the Illustrious Order of the Lobster and Periwinkle.'
A large marquee was erected on the island for the King and his Officers while the commoners paraded around in gay attire, the ladies in white with green silk bonnets and the men in their Sunday best; there was singing and dancing to the musicians in attendance and a great time was had by all until late into the night.
For the Collimore boatmen, it was said to bea windfall earning them enough 'to keep them in idleness and inebriation' for a long time afterwards.
The british, considering this to be a strategic island, which Napoleon might one day occupy, had one of their famous Martello towers built on the island, presumably before they sent him to Elba, not much better by all accounts.