A Guide To The Mighty Moll’s Gap In Killarney (Parking, History + Safety Notice)

moll's gap
Photo left: POM POM. Photo right: LouieLea (Shutterstock)

The mighty Moll’s Gap in Killarney is one of the most popular stops on the Ring of Kerry route.

The Ring of Kerry (N71) from Killarney to Kenmare is an amazing route for road trippers. The smooth tarmac winds up through an endless display of beauty.

About halfway up, you’ll come across Moll’s Gap, where the road seems to cleave through the mountains. 

In the guide below, you’ll discover everything you need to know about Moll’s Gap in Killarney, from where to park to where to grab a fine view.

Some quick need-to-knows before visiting Moll’s Gap in Killarney

Photo by LouieLea on Shutterstock

Also known as Céim an Daimh in Irish, which means ‘Gap of the Ox’, Moll’s Gap is one of the most popular places to visit in Kerry, and it attracts thousands of tourists each year.

From cyclists and bikers, to road trippers from across the globe, it’s an ideal place to stop for a coffee, lunch, or just to take in the views. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Parking

It couldn’t be easier to find parking at Moll’s Gap. There’s a spacious car park right at the gap itself, with plenty of room for bikers, cyclists, cars and motorhomes alike. It’s opposite a beautiful stone shop and cafe, so you can’t miss it!

2. Safety

It’s easy to get carried away with the sheer beauty of your surroundings, but take care. The car park is on a tight bend, with a junction, so you’ll not always hear or see traffic coming. If you’re popping into the cafe, just make sure you check twice, you never know if there’ll be a biker trying to get their knee down on the hairpin!

3. The views

If you can, try and get to Moll’s Gap on a clear day — you won’t regret it! The views from the top of the mountain pass are spectacular, taking in the rugged beauty of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range, shimmering lakes, bogs, and vibrant green pastures.

4. Coffee

Alright, the views are incredible, but for me, stopping off for a coffee and maybe something sweet at the Avoca cafe at Moll’s Gap is the icing on the cake.

Besides coffee and cake, you can also grab a light lunch. It doubles up as a shop, and you’ll find all kinds of woolly treasures there.

About Moll’s Gap (and where it got its name!)

Molls gap best thing to do in kerry
Photo via Failte Ireland

Moll’s Gap is named after Moll Kissane, landlady of an infamous shebeen — that’s a small, unlicensed pub — known across the land for her homemade poitin.

Now, if you’re not familiar with poitin, it’s one of the oldest Irish drinks. Poitin is a ‘hard liquor’, sometimes made from potatoes.

Moll’s shebeen sprung up during the construction of the road in the 1820s and her liquor was said to fuel the hardy men working on the road — or at least put a little fire in their bellies!

Nowadays, the shebeen is long gone (there’s some great pubs in Killarney, if you fancy a pint!), but thankfully the road has been completed.

Things to see and do near Moll’s Gap in Killarney

Photo by Hugh O’Connor on Shutterstock

One of the beauties of Moll’s Gap in Killarney is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions, both man-made and natural.

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

1. Ladies View

Ladies view killarney
Photo by Borisb17 (Shutterstock)

Just 6 km (3.7 miles) from Moll’s Gap heading towards Killarney is Ladies View. This is another spectacular view point along the Ring of Kerry, and is ranked as one of the most photographed views in Ireland. Seeing is believing, with out-of-this-world scenery that evokes a pang of nostalgia for a forgotten time and place.

2. The Ring of Kerry

ring of kerry road trip
Photo by Johannes Rigg (Shutterstock)

This is a wonderful road for a scenic drive, with stops along the way such as Moll’s Gap and Ladies View. Stretching 179 km (111-mile) around the Iveragh Peninsula, this circular route begins in Killarney, and passes through diverse landscapes.

Along the route, you’ll ascend the rugged mountains, traverse craggy coastlines, and stop off at brilliant pubs and cafes. Take your time and spend a day to complete the loop.

3. Torc Waterfall

torc waterfall killarney
Photo left: Luis Santos. Photo right: gabriel12 (Shutterstock)

Torc Waterfall is one of Ireland’s most incredible waterfalls, dropping 20 meters (66 ft) from the face of Torc mountain. It’s just down the road from Moll’s Gap, in Killarney National Park, and a popular stop on the Ring of Kerry.

The walk up to the waterfall is beautiful too, and if you’re lucky you might bump into some deer. There are two excellent walks nearby: Cardiac Hill and the Torc Mountain Walk.

4. Ross Castle

Photo by Hugh O’Connor on Shutterstock

Ross Castle dates back to the 15th century and is a wonder to behold. Wrapped in myth and real-life legend, the only time the castle was ever taken was when an age-old prophecy was fulfilled.

It’s a fascinating castle to explore; you can get a good look inside on a tour, or you can see it on one of the many Killarney National Park walks.

5. Muckross Abbey

Photo by gabriel12 on Shutterstock

Also in Killarney National Park, Muckross Abbey is another must-see. Founded way back in 1448, the walls have borne witness to a long and sometimes bloody history.

Despite many years of raids and assaults, the abbey remains in fairly good condition. It’s a really interesting place to walk around, and the huge yew tree in the central courtyard seems almost magical.

You can also drop into the nearby Muckross House – a visit here is one of the most popular things to do in Killarney!

FAQs about visiting Moll’s Gap in Killarney

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to park at Moll’s Gap to what there is to see and do 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 it easy to get parking at Moll’s Gap?

Yep. There’s a big car park right next to the Avoca cafe, so you won’t have any hassle. You can also get a decent view from the car park itself.

Where can you get the best view?

Personally, I think the best view of Moll’s Gap is from the back left corner of the car park, as it’s slightly elevated and you can watch the cars (and sheep…) from above.

Is there much to see nearby?

Yep! Ladies View is a short drive on the road towards Killarney Town and you also have Torc Waterfall, the National Park and plenty more.

Andy was once on a glorious worldwide trip on his equally glorious motorcycle. After 4 years, he'd still only made it as far as Eastern Europe, before falling in love with his surroundings and deciding to settle down a while. Nowadays, he spends his time writing about traveling through the places he once explored, normally while sipping a pint.

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