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 Killarney National Park, is a rugged glacial pass between the mountains, hewn two million years ago by giant, slow moving ice 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. Look for signs of Kate Kearney’s Cottage and then you will 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.

If you want to see the gap by jarvey this is the best place to hire one from, as you cannot drive a vehicle past Kate Kearney’s.

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 three lakes, with incredible views of the surrounding mountains, Meeting of The Waters, Ladies View and Ross Castle.

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.

Ross Castle

The Gap of Dunloe in Irish Dún Lóich, meaning "Lóich's stronghold", otherwise known as Bearna an Choimín meaning "gap of the common-land" 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.

Within it are five lakes: Coosaun Lough, Black Lake, Cushnavally Lake, Auger Lake, and Black Lough (north to south). 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.

The Gap has long been a popular tourist attraction. The road through it is narrow, winding, and difficult for motorised traffic, so the most popular form of transport for tourists is the horse-drawn trap, a cart where up to four occupants sit facing each other.

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. More recently, tourists have visited the Gap as it was a location on Irish film The Crying Game. The Road through The Gap from a popular starting point, Kate Kearney's, down to Lord Brandon's Cottage, is about 11km long, and contains a 500-foot elevation. 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.

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