A Guide To Visiting The Black Valley In Kerry (+ How To Find The Abandoned Cottage)

the black valley in kerry
Photo by silvester kalcik (Shutterstock)

The Black Valley in Kerry has always been a popular destination for walkers.

Especially for those walking the Kerry Way. However, in recent years, the Black Valley has shot to fame thanks to its picture-perfect abandoned cottage.

The Black Valley is an area of immense natural beauty in County Kerry. Known for its stunningly verdant landscapes and remote scenery, the area is extremely popular with tourists looking for a taste of authentic rural Irish living.

In the guide below, you’ll discover everything from how to find the abandoned cottage in the Black Valley to what to see nearby.

Some quick need-to-knows before you visit the Black Valley in Kerry

the black valley in killarney
Photo by Ondrej Prochazka (Shutterstock)

A visit to the Black Valley in Kerry is straightforward enough, once you take your time and have an end point in mind (e.g. the abandoned cottage).

Below, you’ll find some quick need-to-knows to whizz through before we hop into the rest of the guide.

1. Location

The Black Valley is a stunning valley at the southern tip of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountains in Kerry, just south of the Gap of Dunloe and north of Moll’s Gap.

2. Where the name comes from

The origins of the name Black Valley are not entirely known. Some have suggested that the name comes from the fact that this part of Ireland was one of the last to be connected to the national electricity grid, only achieving this as late as the 1970s!

3. Part of the Kerry Way

The Black Valley in Killarney is part of the long-distance Kerry Way walking route. Over 200km in length, the Kerry Way is a signposted trail that starts and ends in Killarney.

4. The now famous abandoned cottage

The abandoned cottage in the Black Valley arguably became famous thanks to photos that appeared on Instagram and Facebook. The cottage looks like something from a land that time forgot, and I mean that in the best possible sense. You’ll find it’s location below!

How to find the abandoned cottage in the Black Valley 

the abandoned cottage
Photo by silvester kalcik (Shutterstock)

Thanks to its mysterious nature and remote location, there is a certain abandoned cottage in the Black Valley that has gained quite the reputation in recent years.

Due to the fascination across social media platforms with all things abandoned and spooky, the abandoned Black Valley cottage now attracts visitors from all over.

In truth, it is not that difficult to reach. But good God we must have spent a good 40 minutes trying to find the abandoned cottage in the Black Valley on Google Maps…

Located near Lough Reagh, the cottage is also known as Molly’s Cottage. Heading north from Lough Reagh, follow the stream until the path forks into two.

Take the right path and keep going until you see the cottage. If all else fails, here’s the location on Google Maps that’ll take you straight there. 

Black Valley hostel and accommodation

finding the cottage
Photos via Airbnb

Known as one of the best rural hostels in all of Ireland, The Black Valley Hostel is a clean, simple place to stay at the heart of the region. Family-run for more than sixty years, this fantastic spot is ideal for those in need of a base in the Black Valley.

Offering private and shared rooms, access to a kitchen and dining room with wood burning fire and more, Black Valley Hostel is one of the top picks for expeditions out into the Black Valley countryside.

Things to see and do near the Black Valley

One of the beauties of the Black Valley in Kerry is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Kerry.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the Black Valley (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).

1. Gap of Dunloe (20-minute drive)

The gap of Dunlore
Photo by Stefano_Valeri (Shutterstock)

The Gap of Dunloe is a stunning mountain pass heading north to south between MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain and the Purple Mountain Group range. There’s a lovely that you can head off on here!

2. Moll’s Gap (28-minute drive)

molls gap
Photo by LouieLea (Shutterstock)

Moll’s Gap is a beautiful mountain pass that can be visited by taking the N71 road from Kenmare to Killarney. Moll’s Gap is a part of the famous Ring of Kerry, providing unbeatable views of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountains.

3. Lord Brandon’s Cottage (9-minute drive)

lord brandons cottage near Black Valley
Photo by Grantibo (Shutterstock)

Lord Brandon’s Cottage is a 19th-century hunting lodge sits amid lush, green water meadows and offers an al-fresco cafe and a dock for boats. 

A unique way to reach the cottage is by taking a boat tour from Ross Castle (located in Killarney National Park).

4. Ladies View (39-minutes)

Ladies view killarney
Photo by Borisb17 (Shutterstock)

Next up is one of the most popular things to do in Killarney! Offering truly stunning views of the local area, this is without doubt one of Ireland’s most photographed vistas. Green, lush and truly spectacular, a visit to this part of Ireland should always include a glimpse of Ladies View!

5. Ballaghbeama Gap (46-minutes)

Ballaghbeama pass
Photo by Joe Dunckley (Shutterstock)

Another gorgeous drive not far from the Black Valley area, the Ballaghbeama Gap offers an extended look into the region’s green and rugged hillsides. For those looking to enjoy a truly memorable road trip around the Black Valley, Ballaghbeama is a must!

FAQs about visiting the Black Valley in Kerry

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from how to find the abandoned cottage in the Black Valley to what there is to see nearby.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is the Black Valley in Killarney worth visiting?

Yes – 100%! The Black Valley in Kerry is a stone’s throw from Killarney Town and it’ll give you a taste of what real ‘rural’ Ireland is like. Isolation and natural beauty combine to make this a fine hidden gem.

How do you get to the abandoned cottage?

In the guide above, you’ll find a link to the location on Google Maps. It’s fairly handy to find with Maps, but it’s tricky if you’re just winging it.

Is there much to see near the Black Valley in Kerry?

Yes – there’s loads. From the Gap of Dunloe and Lord Brandon’s Cottage to Moll’s Gap, Ladies View and much more, there’s endless things to see and do nearby.

James Connolly is a professional writer based in London. Having lived in cities across the world including Mumbai, Medellin and Barcelona, he uses his expertise to write articles showcasing the best of global travel.

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