Gap of Dunloe
This walk takes you through the stunning Gap of Dunloe in County Kerry. The route follows a tarmac road through the area, with a series of beautiful lakes and the wonderful backdrop of the Kerry mountains all the way.
It's a fairly flat route, running for about 11km. The road passes right through the narrow mountain pass which was forged between the MacGillycuddy Reeks and Purple Mountain by glacial flows.
The walk starts from Kate Kearney's cottage where there is a car park. From here you head south along the road passing the fives lakes including Coosaun Lough, Black Lake, Cushnavally Lake, Auger Lake, and Black Lough. There's also nice views of the River Loe which connects the lakes. Near the start of the hike you will pass 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 route finishes at the Head of Dunloe where you turn around an retrace your steps back to the car park. Here you can enjoy refreshments at the excellent Kate Kearney's Cottage, a 150 year old family-run establishment with a great menu.
If you would like you could continue all the way to Lord Brandon's cottage but this would turn it into a 22km walk which may be to much in one day. The complete route would be more suitable for cyclists who can hire bikes in nearby Killarney.
If you prefer to save your energy you can try hiring a jaunting car to take you through the gap. This horse-drawn trap takes up to four occupants and is a popular way of seeing the sights.
To continue your walking in Killarney National Park, head east to visit Mucross Lake and the beautiful Torc Waterfall.