Unforgetabble Ireland : Kerry (Part3)

Killarney and Vicinity

After Ring of Kerry, we turned our attention to the other attractions in the area and the second day of sightseeing in Kerry was as impressive as the first. Between Kenmare and Killarney, we discovered some of the most exhilarating natural beauty.

During breakfast on the morning of Jun 17th, Owen owner of Seashore Farm Guest House asked us about our plan for the day and subsequently recommended a route that worked out great for our itinerary. From Moll’s Gap we entered the secluded Black Valley, traversed the wondrous Gap of Dunloe, visited Muckross House and Ross Castle, stopped by Torc Fountain and hiked through the most beautiful outdoor trail along Muckross Lake to the Old Weir Bridge.

Moll’s Gap

Moll’s Gap was a spot right on N71 about 11.5km (7.5miles) from Kenmare. Set on one side of road is a paved parking lot and the other is Avoca, a shop offering unique knitwear, pottery and glass, etc. Surrounded by breathtaking views of MacGuillycuddy Reeks, Purple Mountain and Cromaglan Mountain, it was the grand opening of our day.

MacGuillycuddy Reeks and Purple Mountain in the background

MacGuillycuddy Reeks and Purple Mountain in the background

Gap between McGuillycuddy and Purple mountain

Gap between McGuillycuddy and Purple mountain

Waterfall on Avoca’s left

Waterfall on Avoca’s left

Black Valley

The recommended way to visit the Gap of Dunloe is to hire a jaunty car, a horse drawn cart, and enter from its north end marked by Kate Kearney’s Cottage. We opted to drive ourselves and go the opposite way by starting at Moll’s Gap, which led to our discovery of Black Valley and is to me a better way to explore the area.

Black Valley is a glacial valley located in the MacGuillycuddy Reeks, north of Moll’s Gap and south of Gap of Dunloe. Set amidst grassy hills and rugged mountains, this remote and tranquil valley is permeated with untamed beauty and serenity.

With only a few cars, bikers, hikers and several jaunty cars sharing the road, the traffic on that day was light. It was a sunny and warm for the most part. We were so “lost” in the charming surrounding that it took us almost 2 hours to travel from Moll’s Gap to Gap of Dunloe, about 15.5 km (9.5miles).

We moved on slowly but smoothly. There were however some little dramas. A jaunty car driver, a man in probably his sixties, intentionally blocked the road to keep us trailing behind him, even though we were on a part of the road where he could move to the side and let us pass. 10 minutes later I had my husband pull over by the church in need of a restroom break. The jaunty car moved on and we did not cross path again. The search for a loo turned out a friendlier encounter.

There is only one road to get to Black Valley from Moll’s Gap

There is only one road to get to Black Valley from Moll’s Gap

One of the many mountain creeks

One of the many mountain creeks


After zooming in with my long range lens, what looked like motionless, dry, hoary-white lines crawling on the far-away mountain sides turned out to be live waterfalls forcefully coming down.
Happy location for happy cows

Happy location for happy cows

Naturally designed water fountain

Naturally designed water fountain

Rumbling stream

Rumbling stream


A babbling creek here, a swishing waterfall there, Black Valley is teeming with running water. Driving slowly on, a loud rumbling came. Once turning around the corner, I was stunned by the origin of that powerful roar, just feet away off the road a wide stream of water fearlessly tumbling down a rocky slope, rolling on and on. We stopped and pulled over. It was a force at odd with the tranquility of the valley.
Peaks of MacGuillycuddy

Peaks of MacGuillycuddy

A storybook house

A storybook house


A distinctive house emerged on the way. It has a thatched roof and a dreamy, almost magical aura. A large Retriever Labrador in lustrous black coat soundlessly appeared to the front of the house when I was getting out of the car to take a photo. I held myself still-it watched us calmly and vanished a few moments later.
Rushing stream close by the house

Rushing stream close by the house

Bridge over the stream

Bridge over the stream

Peaks at eye level

Peaks at eye level


We ascended as the road gradually zigzagged its way up the hillside to Gap of Dunloe.
Grassy mountain top

Grassy mountain top

Carrauntohill, MacGuillycuddy’s highest peak, towers over Black Valley at 1039m (645miles)

Carrauntohill, MacGuillycuddy’s highest peak, towers over Black Valley at 1039m (645miles)


The 2nd and 3rd highest peaks of MacGuillycuddy are Beenkeragh (994m/616miles) and Caher (960m/595miles).
A Youth hostel and a Church are on this stretch of the road

A Youth hostel and a Church are on this stretch of the road

The door open but the church empty

The door open but the church empty

They lend me a helping hand

They lend me a helping hand


I failed to find a toilet at the Church and the hostel was locked at the time. Luckily, I found this school building down the road and the lady principal graciously allowed us use of the school toilet.
Right before reaching Gap of Dunloe, Killarney’s Upper Lake emerged on the last flight of road

Right before reaching Gap of Dunloe, Killarney’s Upper Lake emerged on the last flight of road

The valley is now way down below the sheep and those houses

The valley is now way down below the sheep and those houses

Gap of Dunloe

The narrow road ended and we landed upon the head of Gap of Dunloe, a large, open space commencing a gap between two mountains, where a whole different kind of vista emerged to the north.

Gap of Dunloe is a narrow pass meandering through the glaciated valley formed between MacGuillycuddy Reeks and Purple Mountains. The 11km (7miles) path passes five small lakes — Coosaun Lough, Black Lake, Cushnavally Lake, Auger Lake and Black Lough. The River Loe connects these lakes, from which the gap gets its name.

There was an incredible view at every turn and it was another hour before we reached the north end of the gap.

The grand entrance to Gap of Dunloe

The grand entrance to Gap of Dunloe

Incredible water cascade

Incredible water cascade

Cluster of pink Rhododendrons

Cluster of pink Rhododendrons

Black Lough

Black Lough

Wishing Bridge between Coosaun Lough and Black Lake

Wishing Bridge between Coosaun Lough and Black Lake

Coosaun Lough

Coosaun Lough

Black Lake

Black Lake

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One Response

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