:: Visiting Killarney and the Gap of Dunloe – Ireland

The next part of our Irish road trip was actually not planned at all until we arrived in Dingle! That’s right, we had no plans to visit Killarney or the Gap of Dunloe. One of the fellow guests at the B&B we stayed at recommended it as a “do not miss” destination in Ireland. And off we went. Oh boy, what an adventure!

Killarney was just about an hour’s drive from Dingle and the downtown was filled with great shopping and Guinness Pubs (not a surprise). Of course it still rained. all day. Even though we were only in downtown Killarney for an hour or so, it was a fabulous little town to visit in Ireland.

If you do choose to visit Ireland in November, keep in mind that not all shops are open in the off-season but it’s a pretty laid back country, so there may be live music at 9-ish 😉
After our quick jaunt around the town of Killarney, we drove the 20 minutes to the Gap of Dunloe. And then we arrived.  All I can say is: What an experience. OMG.
Apparently, the day we chose to visit, a horse auction was taking place. There were about a hundred horses everywhere. We were even asked if we wanted to buy a mini horse. (Wonder what RyanAir’s baggage policy is on that?) We were so distracted by the commotion that we did not read this sign, at all. Traffic restricted? Who knew?! If you plan on hiking this (as most people apparently do), it is a bit of a HIKE, not a casual walk. Know that in advance and choose a non rainy day.
So after making our way through the horses, we began our adventure. The sign did not lie. Narrow road was true, but we’ll get to that later.
After a few minutes drive, we came to the Gap of Dunloe – but we didn’t know it. Yes, this was beautiful but we couldn’t help but think, “This mini lake can’t be it…” (We’re from the Great Lakes remember.) And since we didn’t do any research prior to visiting, we had no idea what we were even looking for…

…and so we kept driving up the hill. Here’s where our adventure really gets good. (Notice the nice paved lines in the road? Well, this is where they end.)
… and now we start climbing a mountain. With a left-handed stick shift car. On a one lane road. In the rain. I was honestly panicking. Oh, and when another car is coming, you have to reverse down this one lane road, on a mountain, until you get to a pull off to let the car pass. That’s fun.
At one point we turned around to leave but then we decided to keep going because we (and I quote), “Didn’t want to miss the Gap of Dunloe.” So anyways, now we’re on roads that car commercials are probably filmed on.
But then we reached the top of this mountain town and witnessed some incredible views. Photos just don’t do it justice. This made it worth all the panicking.
We then had to hurry up and start our mountain decent before sunset because we didn’t want to imagine that much adventure in one day 😉
With all that aside, I bet you are asking me, “Was it worth it?” My answer is: yes, yes and yes! It truly was an unforgettable, breathtaking experience….But…maybe trade the driving for a horse and buggy ride up the mountain in the summer – it may be more relaxing.

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