Gap of Dunloe, a road trip in Ireland.

Gap of Dunloe scenic road
Gap of Dunloe road

The Gap of Dunloe is a tight mountain pass with a little road in the Kerry Region in Ireland. The road and the area are known for its marvelous landscapes. This road is often on the lists for an irish roadtrip

Where is the Gap of Dunloe road?

The Gap of Dunloe (or Bearna an Choimín in Irish) road is located in Kerry County in the southwest of Ireland.

You can include the road in the Ring of Kerry itinerary as an alternative route.

The Gap of Dunloe appeared 25.000 years ago during the last ice age in Ireland when the glacier in the Black Valley broke.

You can locate the road on the map below:


Enlarge the map

Some details about the road

This is a 10-kilometers (6.2 miles) itinerary in the Killarney area. The road starts at Kate Kearney’s Cottage, then passes through a 240 meters high mountain pass (785 feet) and ends into the Black Valley.

It is an asphalted road in quite a poor condition. That is why you should be aware of many things if you want to drive on it: turns, wet pavement, fog, ships on the road. Be very attentive if you drive there.

The road will pass by 5 lakes which are linked by the Loe river. Between the first and the second lake, there is a famous old bridge the Wishing Bridge. (apparently wishes made on this bridge come true!).

Bridge in Gap of Dunloe road
Gap of Dunloe – Wishes Bridge

If you want to enjoy the area differently you can park your car at the parking which is at the beginning of the road. From there you can:

  • Cycle
  • Walk, usually, you can go to the Head of the Gap of Dunloe point and come back (about 6 kilometers / 3,7 miles).
  • Carriage tour, in the high season the operators are on this parking.

Another scenic road trip idea in Ireland is the Causeway Coastal Route road trip in Northern Ireland. Also, you can drive the Slea Head that is very close.

How to get to Gap of Dunloe?

If you are coming from Killarney, take the N72 road until gap road (Dunloe direction). Then, After Dunloe turn in direction of the Kate Kearney’s Cottage and drive straight. It will take you about 20 minutes to get there from Killarney

If you are coming from Moll’s Gap or the N71 road, drive in Black Valley direction then take the Gap on Dunloe road.

A preview of the drive:

If you want to have a preview of the road, you can watch this youtube 4K video of the drive:

Is the Gap of Dunloe open?

It is a public road which is open all year around.

However, the road is very tight and it’s not recommended to drive there during the day on weekends or during high season. There will be a lot of traffic, cyclists, hikers, ships, and even jaunting cars.

In fact, local jaunting cars services even install signs that the road has priority for locals inhabitants and jaunting cars. These signs are not official but should be taken into consideration.

If you are driving the Irish Kilkenny’s ring road (Ring of Kerry), you should think about making a detour through the Gap of Dunloe. Indeed, the drive is fabulous and if you come during the low season you will be on an empty road, well maybe some ships will be there! It is often placed on ireland road trip map.


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