The King of Dalkey welcomes you to the Guinea Pig Restaurant
King Mervyn 1 was crowned with due pomp and ceremony in July 1986, attended by his Princes, Pages and Maids of Honour and in the presence of his loyal subjects, after which there were festivities lasting a whole week. The Origin in the 1790's of this delightful nonsense is recorded below, but the following extract from "The Dalkey Gazette Extraordinary" of September 22nd 1972 is worth mentioning:
"The deputation from the states of Lambay, Ireland's Eye and the Muglins, and from the Holy Knights of the Magee, came to lay their annual tribute at his Majesty's feet, consisting of three milk white rabbits, three young sea-gulls, three large lobster, a firkin of mushrooms, a firkin of oysters, do. Cockles, an antique mether of whiskey, a wreath of mistletoe and a robe of sea-wrack"
With a note that sea-gull no longer features in our menu, we have reproduced below some details published in 1867 on the origin of the Kingdom about 1790, followed, on a more serious note, by some details of Dalkey's mediaeval origins written by Harry Latham, our noted local historian.
"THE KINGDOM OF DALKEY" and its officers of State etc., etc., eighty years ago
(Harry Latham 1986)
In the last century, a curious convivial society or club was established in Dublin, which existed for a considerable time, until it became the parent of secret democratic societies, in connection with the French Revolutionists. Most of the wits and gay fellows of the middle and liberal class of society were members of it. Its president was styled "King of Dalkey, Emperor of the Muglins, Prince of the Holy Island Magee, and Elector of Lambay and Ireland's Eye, defender of his own Faith and Respecter of all others, and Sovereign of the Most Illustrious Order of the Lobster and Periwinkle." Proclamations in connection with this mimic kingdom were issued from "The Palace, Fownes'-street". The last and most popular King of Dalkey was a very respectable bookseller and pawnbroker of Dublin - Stephen Armitage, who reigned under the title of
"King Stephen the First."
"George has the wealth the dev'l and all,
The members of this society met once a year on Dalkey Island, to choose a king and state officers, the monarchy being elective. Strictly limited - that is, to extend - the people were averse to foreign conquest and standing armies. The point and intention of this original travestie of fun and festivity, was to relive, in a humourous and satirical vein, the events of the past year, and to discuss the question of interest affecting political topics of the day, the short-comings of the the government, and the state of European affairs generally. All the nobility of this petit kingdom were at one time wits, orators, and generally first-rate vocalists, and the royal visitors were supposed to be similarly gifted. The proceedings of these summer reunions, with a full report of the coronation sermons, as preached in the ruined church on the island, which was call Dalkey Cathedral, pere published in most of the Dublin papers - more expecially in Cooney's Morning Post, the politics of which were very democratic. The Dalkey Gazette formed a portion of this journal. This paper is now difficult to be met with. At the conclusion of the coronation revels, which generally took place on a a Sunday in the end of August or beginning of September, an ode, composed for the occasion, was sung by all the people, and the whole ceremony finished by a feast on the rocks; after which his Majesty and his officers of state embarded in pomp, followed by his people.