How the Vico Road got its name


Sir, – The circularity of Frank McNally’s peregrination of the Vico Road (Irishman’s Diary, June 23rd) is germane to the philosophy of Giambattista Vico and the homage of James Joyce’s “commodius vicus of recirculation”, but inaccurate in the attributed etymology. The name derives from an abbreviation of vicolo, a narrow path or alley, common in the Neapolitan area.

 Formerly two private roads  – one, Vico leading from Sorrento, the other from Killiney village – were terminated by walls, the Dalkey end known as “the end of the world”. They were linked – unofficially –   by a grassy path. A public subscription commenced in 1887, aided by the Queens Jubilee Memorial Association and the Dalkey Town Commissioners, to acquire the land, open a park (Victoria Hill) and pave the road which would be open to the public. The road and park works were completed by December 1890 and opened by the Lord Lieutenant and Marchioness of Londonderry  (Irish Times, Dec 5th, 1890).

Myles na gCopaleen too left his mark, referring to a house on Vico as “Lán Mór”, in honour of its lack of the same. – Yours, etc,


Vico Road,

Dalkey, Co Dublin.