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The Gap of Dunloe is one of the most stunningly beautiful parts of County Kerry and indeed Ireland. Stretching through the MacGuillicuddy Reeks mountain range, this beautiful glacial valley simply must be experienced to be appreciated. The Gap of Dunloe is a narrow mountain pass formed by glacial ice a couple of million years ago. The valley winds its way for 6 miles (10kms) between MacGuillicuddy Reeks and the Purple Mountains.
Along its way its passes five lakes, or loughs, Coosaun, Lough, Black Lake, Cushnavally Lakes, Auger Lake and Black Lough. The River Loe connects the lakes. Over the river at one end is the Wishing bridge where it’s promised that wishes made while crossing the bridge will come true. At one end of the valley is Kate Kearney’s Cottages, a bit of a tourist trap which is useful for a snack, or a refreshing pint of Guinness and some traditional Irish music. At the other end is Lord Brandon’s Cottages where you can get a boat back to Killarney if desired.
The best way to explore the gap is by hiking or riding a bicycle for the more active among us. You can also go by pony and trap. The local horse Jarveys will provide this service along with a tour guide’s story telling lesson on the area as you go. The Jarvneys and Horse and Traps leave from Kate Kearney’s cottage.
The Gap of Dunloe is across the water from Killarney and you can get a boat from Ross Castle across the Lakes to Lord Brandon’s Cottage. The boat operators also carry bikes so you can ride through the valley. Guided Tours are also available in the summer time when it gets busy.
Images courtesy of Kerry Way, Diana & Rosalind our guests, and images licenced to ourselves from various sources including Tourism Ireland and stock images.