The Gap of Dunloe is a narrow mountain pass that goes between the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and Purple Mountains in County Kerry, in the south west of Ireland. The gap was formed two million years ago by glacial flows and is around eleven kilometres in length. It is one of the most glorious and stunning settings in the entire country and certainly one of Kerry’s most famous views, comprising of of rugged, spectacular, mountainous beauty.
The river running through the gap is the River Loe and this is where the name derives from. The Gap commences at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. Located a relatively short distance from Kate Kearney’s Cottage is an attractive old bridge that is known as the “Wishing Bridge”, the lore is that wishes made here really do come true. The road does narrow in a lot of places as it meanders through the pass and descends into The Black Valley, from here there are the most splendid mountain views on both sides. En-route visitors pass by five lakes, Coosaun Lough, Black Lake, Cushnavally Lake, Auger Lake and Black Lough, they are linked together by the River Loe. The route is mostly taken by a combination of jaunting cars, horse-riders, walkers and cyclists, it is unusual to see a car here. The walk on average takes about two and a half hours, from Kate Kearney’s Cottage to Lord Brandons Cottage.
Visitors have the option of taking a boat back to Killarney, the journey back takes you through the delightful Upper, Middle and Lower Lakes to historic Ross Castle.
After reaching the end of the Gap visitors will pass Lord Brandons Cottage where snacks are available for purchase. It is a lovely spot, the cottage is surrounded by Oak trees and vibrant wild Rhododendron Trees that are stunning when they are in bloom.
Visitors who don’t wish to walk the passage can hire a jaunting car to travel through the pass, with the option of taking a boat back to Killarney from Lord Brandon’s Cottage.
This breathtaking valley has to be seen to be appreciated, it is simply mother nature at her best. It is a remote and untouched part of Ireland and a must for any nature lover to Killarney.