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Killiney History | April 17, 2024

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‘Wining, Dining and Dancing in Killiney and Dalkey through the ages’ a talk by Eileen O’Duffy

‘Wining, Dining and Dancing in Killiney and Dalkey through the ages’ a talk by Eileen O’Duffy
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2024 | author

Review by Rosa Hick

Last night, in a talk hosted by Killiney Historical Society, Eileen O’Duffy gave a fabulous presentation on fine dining around Dublin, most especially during the 1970s when Haute cuisine, delivered by a few elite restaurants in our area was at its finest. She led us through a journey that started over 200 years ago with the building of the Grand Hotels in Dun Laoghaire, to Silver service, and the mediaeval style tartan uniforms of the Castle with its Dungeon Grill bar, and the knight in shining armour always there to greet us, (he always mesmerised us as kids), and she ended her talk with the crazy solutions to the Sunday curfew on serving alcohol after 10pm, that the local Discos adopted with their chicken, or curry slap up dinners. I walked every step with her last night, it brought many buried memories back life, The Shangri La Hotel, The Cliff Castle, The Colimore Hotel, Jesters, and the old favourite Court Hotel. Starving after a night out on the town in Dalkey we would wolf into our curry, drink some more, and dance around handbags Air Guitars, and Rock the Boat, into the small hour of the morning. On occasions a skinny dip on Killiney beach, a walk along the tracks home, or if we were lucky the overloaded Wanderley Wagon van of my father that I would nick sometimes (when he was asleep), making its way back over the Vico road. There is only one Hotel left in our area all the rest have become apartment blocks, but to this day Fitzpatrick’s Castle Hotel is still here serving us, and I say thank God for small mercies, a favourite and very special venue to our family, long may you trade Eithne Fitzpatrick, and family. Eileen’s talk was born from her love of fine dining and publication of her book Champagne, Cocktails and Crêpes Suzette, a beautifully presented book full of Old vintage Postcards and interesting trivia, and social memorabilia. It sits proudly among my special books at home. Well done Eileen.

Watch Eileen’s talk here:

Eileen O’Duffy

Eileen worked as a Digital Education, Media and Marketing Strategist and Consultant for 20 years. During the Covid lockdowns in 2020/21, she decided to take time out to write her own book. In September 2021, Eileen self-published her first book, From Dirt and Dips to Dryrobes, bathing in Dún Laoghaire through the ages. The book was very well received, selling over 700 copies before the Christmas season. Eileen enjoyed the entire experience so much she started writing a second book about Dún Laoghaire almost immediately. This time, she wanted to focus on the elegant lifestyle of the past. Champagne, Cocktails and Crêpes Suzette, wining, dining and dancing in Dún Laoghaire through the ages, was published in September 2022. Eileen has lived in Dalkey for 50 years and now works with Lettertec Publishers helping companies write corporate history and anniversary books.

Champagne, Cocktails and Crêpes Suzette

The small village of Dunleary was transformed beyond recognition when the new harbour was built in the early nineteenth century. The new town was called Kingstown and later Dún Laoghaire, and became the main mail and passenger link with England and the golden gate to Ireland. Dún Laoghaire was not only the point of arrival and departure, it was also a stylish and fashionable destination in its own right and one of the most popular seaside resorts in Europe.
Champagne, Cocktails and Crêpes Suzette is a journey back in time to a golden era where local residents and visitors wined and dined in the yacht clubs, restaurants and hotels along the waterfront, and danced in the Pavilion, the ballrooms and the nightclubs. It provides an insight into the symbiotic relationship between the harbour and the town and how this helped it to evolve into an elegant and glamorous centre of hospitality and entertainment, a “Dublin Riviera”.

The book is on sale in Dalkey News Dalkey, Eamonn’s Bookshop Sandycove and Irish Design Gallery Dún Laoghaire.