Gap of Dunloe

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The Gap Of Dunloe. Get There By Jaunting Car Or Hire A Bike, Or an incredible walk. 

The Gap of Dunloe in Irish Dún Lóich, meaning "Lóich's stronghold", otherwise known as Bearna an Choimín meaning "gap of the common-land" named after the chieftain of a clan who lived here in ancient times is a narrow mountain pass between Macgillycuddy`s Reeks (west) and Purple Mountain (east). It is about 11 km (7 miles) from north to south.

The Gap is a rugged glacial pass between the mountains, hewn two million years ago by giant, slow moving ice and is probably the finest example of a glaciated valley in western Europe, providing magnificent views of tarns and cliffs. It lies on the west side of the lake and is reached by heading north from the town. 

Drawn by its geological significance, wealth of legends, potential for hiking and climbing, or simply by the sheer beauty of the surroundings, visitors flock to this unique formation every year. Most start their journey from Kate Kearney’s Cottage. Look for signs of Kate Kearney’s Cottage and then you will be on the road for The Gap of Dunloe.  

By the way did you know Kate Kearney was forever in trouble with the law. Kate used to distil Poteen and smuggle it through the gap to sell.

The river running through the gap is the river Loe from where the Gap gets it's name. The Gap begins at Kate Kearney's Cottage. The road, narrows in many places, winding through the pass. One of which is the famous “Turnpike,” which perches on a narrow section of the mountain pass, with the split sections of it forming natural gate posts on either side of the road. 

You can hire a jaunting car (horse drawn wagon) to travel through the Pass and take a boat back to Killarney from Lord Brandon's cottage at the other end.

Most of the tourists head no further than the gap itself, but if you want more seclusion you can continue on foot through the lonely Black Valley, down past Lord Brandon’s cottage (a tea shop) to the lake shore and hiring a boat past the caves of Middle Lake and over to Ross Castle.

The boat ride alone justifies the trip, it lasts for one and a half hours and passes through all five lakes, Coosaun Lough, Black Lake, Cushnavally Lake, Auger Lake and Black Lough. You will see incredible views of the surrounding mountains, Meeting of The Waters, Ladies View and Ross Castle.

These lakes are connected by the River Loe. Between the first two lakes is an old arch bridge called the 'Wishing Bridge' so named because it is said that wishes made while upon it are destined to come true. 

It makes a good challenging day's exercise by bicycle. You could travel the opposite direction by taking a boat ride from Ross Castle in Killarney with your bike to Lord Brandon's Cottage and cycle back through the Gap to Kate Kearney's cottage.

There are also riding ponies for hire. The trap and ponies are guided by the Gap poneymen called Jarveys who are from families that live in and around the Gap. The Jarveys use a rotation system called the Turn which determines who takes the next customers. The Turn has been in existence since the 1920s and is passed down in the families to the next generation.

Bikes can also be rented in nearby
Killarney and ridden through The Gap. Many people hike or bike the route.

The old red sandstone cliffs of the Gap of Dunloe are a popular location for rock climbing
, the main climbing being on the western slopes, mainly of horizontal cracks, and so depend on cams for protection. 

A road leading to the right of the gap ascends to the wonderfully scenic Cummeeduff Glen, and another along the beautiful glen of Owenreagh to Moll’s Gap and Killarney. 

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