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!
You begin the trip at Kate Kearney’s Cottage (c 1840’s) and travel through a narrow winding road which passes between two mountains; this is known as The Gap of Dunloe. You can choose to do this part of the journey by foot, bicycle, horse-back or horse-cart. You will come to Lord Brandon’s Cottage on the lake edge where most choose to take a short break for a bite to eat. Then let one of the local boatmen take you across the lakes, sharing Irish legends along the way, and you will get off at Ross Castle where you will be collected.