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Quit Horsing Around- Hiking The Gap of Dunloe, County Kerry, Ireland

Saunter Sunday-Travel, walk, think. This blog is under the category of Travel Tales and in this write, it is definitely a place to put on your list of beautiful places to visit and/or epic walks and hikes.

Sometimes, I think that from this time forward, I should plan all my travels with a walk or two in mind, I would not be disappointed.  As I reflect, too many times in life my epic walks happen by fate and not by planning. Is that fate?

What is the Gap?

From the Ring of Kerry Website, The Gap of Dunloe, aka The Gap, “…is a narrow mountain pass forged between the MacGillycuddy Reeks and Purple Mountain by glacial flows. The river running through the gap is the river Loe from where the Gap gets its name. The Gap begins at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. The road, narrow in many places, winds through the pass and descends into The Black Valley passing five lakes, Coosaun Lough, Black Lake, Cushnavally Lake, Auger Lake, and Black Lough. Within easy walking distance from Kate Kearney’s cottage is a picturesque old bridge known as the ‘Wishing Bridge’…”

So, this time, it was one of my travel friends who decided to break from our family group and walk. I was and am thankful for that foresight. My last visit has now been 20 years ago, I had my two preteen youth in tow and we took the horse and buggy tour, called a “jaunting cart” through the gap and back. Honestly, I do not remember a ton about that moment in time but I do remember it gave those preteens a break in driving and active moments and we got some great photos, which are still packed, from my last move.

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Jaunting Carts at The Gap of Dunloe Co. Kerry Ireland

The walk is 6.8 miles from the North to the South.  Some people walk this as a round trip, some take a jaunting cart one way, some take a bus from the town of Killarney to Kate Kearney’s Cottage and return to Killarney by boat. I did the latter on this visit.

Here are a few photos to inspire people to get out and walk.

 

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One of the lakes in The Gap Of Dunloe, co. Kerry

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Watching jaunting carts pass by in this natural setting. Gap of Dunloe

Overall, the walk is moderate and only a few times did I think, I want to jump on one of the horses.

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Bye family! Jaunting cart vs walk in The Gap of Dunloe Co. Kerry

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The Wishing Bridge at The Gap Of Dunloe.

The thing about a walk is that there is time to notice details that you might have otherwise missed as the scenery whirls by. Like, who lived here?

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Stone home ruins in The Gap of Dunloe

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I like to think about how these homes were built. Gap of Dunloe

There is time to consider the colors of this part of Ireland and the flora. There was a baby deer nearby and I couldn’t quite get a photo but I remember.

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Flowers in The Gap of Dunloe

Watching the road and the mountain rise before me made me wonder if I could walk this path in a reasonable time, and then I stepped back and thought who cares?

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The Gap of Dunloe before me

Walking, a girl could spend as much time as she wants to stand on The Wishing Bridge.

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The Wishing Bridge, The Gap of Dunloe

Aside from the deer, I was able to see lots of local farm animals going about their daily business.

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Sheep at The Gap of Dunloe

Hello!

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Sheep jogging at The Gap of Dunloe

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Horses living in The Gap of Dunloe

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The roads wind through The Gap Of Dunloe

At some point, one climbs higher and higher and sometimes in Ireland, it is misty.

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The Gap of Dunloe in the mist.

And as the road twists and turns, I am able to look back through the mist and consider.

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Ireland the Gap through the mist.

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The lakes in The Gap of Dunloe

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And the road winds downward The Gap of Dunloe

As the round makes one hairpin turn after the other, I began to realize that I was making my way down towards civilization.

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The town below my feet looks like toy houses The Gap of Dunloe

I wondered what it must be like to live along this path, in a fishbowl of people making their way along this scenic route? I quickly took this photo of a super awesome bughouse. At least, I think this is what the intention was.

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Homes along the Gap of Dunloe

 

The boat ride back to Killarney was equally as beautiful but the memory of a walk through the Gap will be with me forever.  Get out there!

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Boathouses in Killarney, Ireland

Bike hike, ride, or walk,  Do the Gap!

MEGastars 5 of 5 *****

MEGatips

  1. County Kerry Ireland is truly one of the most beautiful places on the earth to move your feet forward.  Go take a hike.
  2. Look around and try to grasp the scenery surrounding you.
  3. Take photos. With this scenery, any camera will do except for mine which has seen it’s day.
  4. If your non-blogger travel friend continues to feel the need to tell you that they are more of a” people photo person” and not a “landscape photo person,” bite your dang tongue, try not to roll your eyes, take a deep breath, and snap that landscape to commemorate an epic walk. You will not regret this nor will your ever-changing wall of art.
  5. There are many ways to explore the Gap from “do-it-yourself” to the paid tour. Here is a website with some fantastic photography  The Ring of Kerry The Ring of Kerry and a specific link to The Gap Gap of Dunloe

 

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