Gap of Dunloe

Drive up the Gap of Dunloe in Kerry

Gap of Dunloe is a mountain pass at an elevation of 731m (2,398ft) above the sea level, located in County Kerry, Ireland. May be difficult for those who get car sick.

The route has humbled many egos. It’s not for the sissies and shouldn’t be attempted by novice drivers. The surface of the road is asphalt in poor conditions. With a length of 11 km (7 miles) from north to south the pass links Macgillycuddy's Reeks (west) and Purple Mountain (east). This is definitely not a Sunday drive. You need to be very confident on single track roads, hairpin bends and tight bridges.

The journey offers an exhilarating driving experience, with superb views. It’s an unforgettable road trip. The Gap of Dunloe is a popular tourist attraction, during the summer especially. 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. But the road is so narrow that traffic between oncoming cars and horses can become surprisingly congested. There have been fatalities over the years of cyclists.
Located between the highest mountains in Ireland, to arrive to the Gap, the most popular way starts in Killarney, where you have to take the N72 west. Go through Fossa and after 2.5km take the turn left signposted ‘Gap of Dunloe’. Follow this road for about 4km before a left turn after a bend (easy to miss if travelling at speed) that brings you to the Gap. The road through the pass is narrow, winding and is difficult for larger vehicles, and it’s tightly hairpinned and bumped.

This is definitely one road trip that you want to record with lots of photographs. Not recommended trying to drive it yourself - you will just get in the way of others using the road and you won't get to appreciate the beauty nearly as much. It is one of Kerry's most popular tourist destinations due to its scenery. The road does get busier at weekends and in the main holiday season. You will be richly rewarded by some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere in Ireland.