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  Rock Climbing in and around Dún Laoghaire

Dalkey Quarry is a disused granite quarry located in the Dublin suburb of Dalkey. It was used for quarrying during the 19th century, and is now part of Killiney Hill Park, a public park. It is one of Ireland's most significant rock-climbing crags to Dubliners.

The quarry was connected to Dún Laoghaire by a light railway, part of whose alignment was used to build the Dalkey Atmospheric Railway. The remaining part of the route is now a public footpath known as The Metals, and much of the original granite paving survives. Many of the current houses on nearby Ardbrugh Road may have been originally built as quarry staff cottages, though most quarrymen originally squatted or lived in primitive tents. Quarrying continued sporadically thereafter, finally ending in 1917.


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In 1815-1817, quarrying started on Dalkey Hill in order to supply granite for the construction of the new harbour pier at nearby Dún Laoghaire, as well as for the construction of the South Bull Wall (part of the outer defences of Dublin Harbour) and as flagstone for Dublin streets. In the 1840's, stone from the quarry was exported to Newfoundland by Bishop Michael Fleming and used in the construction of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in St. John's.

In 1914 most of the land was added to the existing Killiney Hill Park, opening it to the public. It also has a beautiful view from the top.

In 1942, the quarry's first recorded climbs were made by members of the Irish Mountaineering Club (IMC), and a handwritten guidebook was published. These were the first significant steps in the development of climbing in Ireland; many of those first climbs remain popular and challenging routes for today's climbers.

Throughout the following decades, clearing of vegetation and loose rock by an increasing population of climbers uncovered many more quality climbs, and improvements in climbing techniques and equipment increased grades dramatically. The current guidebook, published in 2005, lists about 300 climbs, at grades up to E7. The climbs are nearly all single-pitch, between 10m and 35m in length. Climbs vary greatly in nature, with steep finger-cracks and bare slabs featuring prominently. Being granite (with some bands of quartz), friction is usually good, but being quarried, not as good as weathered granite. Protection varies but is generally good; in accordance with local ethics, there are no bolts on any climbs in the quarry, and the few remaining pitons are rarely replaced when they eventually break.

The quarry is a very important facility for Dublin climbers; on summer evenings the chirping of birds mingles with the jangling of climbing gear and calling of climbers to their partners. After climbing, Dalkey's pubs (especially the Ivory, previously called McDonaghs) play host to climbers who meet to quench their thirsts and talk about the day's events and plan future trips.

Indoor walls located at
West Wood Club at Sandymount has a wall. Trinity Sports Centre there's an 11m metres high and 18 metres long with space for 14 routes to be used simultaneously. UCD Sports Centre has a climbing wall with 30 degree overhang lead section, multiple top ropes, 40 degree overhanging and slab bouldering sections.

Handy Links:

  • www.climbing.ie
  • www.mountaineering.ie
  • irishmountaineeringclub.org


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