Length: 19,2 km
Width: 2 lanes
Surface quality (out of 10): 7
Highest point: 731 m
Operating times: open all year
via Ring of Kerry/N72
Route: from Killarney to Gearhameen
Gap of Dunloe Road Description
The Gap of Dunloe is a mountain pass located in Ireland, in County Kerry. It has a length of 11 km, and it links Macgillycuddy’s Reeks in the west and Purple Mountain in the east. The road taking you there has made it into our list of routes to drive.
This is an ice carved valley and travelling through it and returning through the Killarney National Park via the three Lakes of Killarney, will offer you a memorable ride. The scenery is spectacular and continuously changes as you drive further.
The mountain pass also is a popular tourist attraction, especially during summer. The road is asphalted, narrow and winding, so the ride will be an entertaining one. It’s difficult for larger vehicles to drive around here, especially when it’s crowded and since it features hairpins and bumps.
You can start the drive from Kate Kearney’s Cottage and leave the modern world behind you. The road will slowly rise into the gap before settling into an undulating pattern. The McGillycuddy Reeks mountain range guards the Gap of Dunloe and, to the west, you will see Ireland’s highest peak, Carrauntoohil. You will also come across the base of Strickeen mountain, where you will find a popular walking route that zig zags towards the summit. The views from up here are magnificent, especially during a clear day.
Continuing the drive, you will also come to the bridges that cross over the Loe river and other five glacial lakes in the area. The lakes are one of the signs of the Ice Age activity that took place in the area.
When reaching the Head of the Gap, you will also start the descent into the Black Valley. The valley is a spectacular and isolated landscape. Even so, it’s close to one of the most visited parts of the country. At the base of the valley, you will find a local church and a hostel.
This route is a thrilling one, featuring many hairpins and a narrow road. As you will approach the Head of the Gap, the hairpins will start, and the road will rise up steeply. Also, the scenery is beautiful and the views from up there are amazing. You will enjoy every step of the way and the whole area of the trip to the Gap of Dunloe.
Photo sources: https://forgetsomeday.com/gap-of-dunloe/, https://www.theirishroadtrip.com/the-gap-of-dunloe/, https://www.killarneyparkhotel.ie/our-killarney/killarney-national-park/gap-of-dunloe/, https://www.classicirelandguidedtours.com/the-gap-of-dunloe/