Gap of Dunloe
The Gap of Dunloe one of Ireland’s true gems is a narrow mountain pass between Macgillycuddy's Reeks (west) and Purple Mountain (east) in County Kerry, Ireland. It is about 11 km (6.8 mi) 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 is difficult for larger vehicles. A 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 men from families that live in and around the Gap. These poneymen 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 the town of Killarney and ridden through The Gap. This place was used as a filming location in the Irish film The Crying Game. The road through The Gap from a popular starting point, Kate Kearney's Cottage, down to Lord Brandon's Cottage, is about 11 km long, climbing and descending about 200 metres altogether. Many people hike or bike the route.
Once you arrive at Kate Kearney’s Cottage you commence the seven mile journey through the Gap to Lord Brandon’s cottage by trap, pony or on foot, where a light lunch can be obtained. There is much evidence of glacial action in the Gap, in striae and ice-moulded rocks.
The towering summits of the Reeks, the changing shadows on the Purple and Tomies mountains, the silence and solitude of the rugged glen – all combine to make an unforgettable impression upon the visitor. The boats depart from Brandon Cottage throughout the day and arrive later in the afternoon at Ross Castle having come through the three lakes of Killarney. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to spend the day talking in one of Irelands real tourist gems.