Escape the city for a while, jump on a DART (Dublin's light rail system) and head for charming Dalkey/Killiney, a mere 25-minutes southbound from the city center. The picture-postcard village of Dalkey attracts visitors from around the world, perhaps something to do with the eclectic arty population, including such figures as Bono of U2, singer/songwriter Enya, filmmaker Neil Jordan, and a host of other artists and writers. Indeed, the village is so famous that Michelle Obama stopped off here during her 2013 visit with her daughters to have lunch at Finnegan's with the U2 singer and his family. There's a wonderful Heritage Center, set in a castle, and spectacular walks along the coast and up onto adjacent Killiney Hill. A ferry service starting in summer 2014 will bring you across to beautiful Dalkey Island, just a couple of minutes from Coliemore Harbour. In recent years, friendly and intimate Dalkey Book Festival has attracted giants of the literary world each June.

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