Visible for miles around, the iconic Gap of Dunloe, between the highest mountains in Ireland (McGillycuddy Reeks) and Killarney’s Purple and Tomies mountains, has been attracting attention for centuries.

Drawn by its geological significance, wealth of legends, potential for hiking and climbing, or simply by the sheer beauty of the surroundings, visitors flock to this unique formation every year. Most start their journey from Kate Kearney’s Cottage…

The name Gap of Dunloe comes from the Irish dun Lóich (“Lóich’s fort”), named after the chieftain of a clan who lived here in ancient times. The River Loe flows through the valley, linking its five corrie lakes: Coosaun Lough, Black Lake, Cushnavally Lake, Auger Lake, and Black Lough. When the great glaciers churned through the mountains 2 million years ago, they left massive boulders scattered about the valley,

one of which is the famous “Turnpike,” which perches on a narrow section of the mountain pass, with the split sections of it forming natural gate posts on either side of the road. Stop here to admire stunning views of Auger Lake before continuing on to the old stone bridge known as the Wishing Bridge. As you might have guessed, make a wish here and it might even come true!

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