Healy Pass is one of Ireland's best drives

Healy Pass is a mountain pass at an elevation of 298m (977ft) above sea level, located on the boundary between Cork and Kerry counties, in the peninsular southwest region of Ireland.

Healy Pass

Why is it called Healy Pass?

Originally known as the Kerry Pass, the road was built in 1847 during the famine years in order to help prevent starvation. The pass, known as Ballaghscart or Ballyscarta, was named after Timothy Michael Healy, a politician from Cork who served as the first governor-general of the Irish Free State.

How long is Healy Pass?

Tucked away on the Beara Peninsula, the road to the summit (Bealach Scairte) is totally paved. It’s called R574. The pass is 12.7km (7.89 miles) long, running south-north from Adrigole (County Cork) to Lauragh (County Kerry).

How long does it take to drive Healy Pass?

To drive the serpentine-like road without stopping will take most people between 20-25 minutes. However, the drive is very scenic and it’ll take longer. It’s one of Ireland's greatest drives with beautiful views over Bantry Bay and the Kenmare River. The mountain landscape is breathtaking. The road winds through a desolate, otherworldly landscape, passing between two of the highest summits in the Caha mountain range. It is a very nice road that winds through the mountains on the west coast of Ireland, well worth a visit. Views are great on both sides of the pass. It's difficult to drive around Beara and not want to take lots of panoramic shots.

Is Healy Pass open?

Set high in the Caha mountain range on the southwest part of the country, the weather in this zone is harsh and highly unpredictable. Caution is required when traversing, as the area is subject to fog and mist in the early morning and late evening.

Is Healy Pass difficult?

The road is truly wild, extremely bendy with hairpin turns and narrow parts through mountainous terrain. There is little traffic. The road to the summit is very steep, with gradients reaching up to 18% through some of the ramps. Take care when driving, as spots are pretty tight.
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