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Moll’s Gap In Killarney: Parking, History + Safety Notice

Moll’s Gap In Killarney: Parking, History + Safety Notice

The mighty Moll’s Gap in Killarney is a narrow mountain pass named after Moll Kissane.

Located along the Ring of Kerry Route a 30-minute drive outside of Killarney, it’s one of a small number of attractions in the area that can feel a bit anti-climatic for first-time visitors.

However, there’s a magic to this place – once you know where to look. Discover everything you need-to-know below.

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

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. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Parking

There’s a car park right next to Moll’s Gap, across from the Avoca Cafe (here on maps). Note that, as this is one of the most popular things to do around Killarney, it gets very busy during summer.

2. Safety warning

Please note that the car park at Moll’s Gap 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 or crossing the road for a photo, please take great care.

3. The views

If you can, try and get to Moll’s Gap on a clear day! 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. Located on the Killarney to Kenmare road

Moll’s Gap is located along the road between Killarney and Kenmare. It’s a 30-minute drive from Killarney and a 10-minute drive from Kenmare.

The history of Moll’s Gap and where it got its name

driving molls gap

Photo via Shutterstock

Moll’s Gap is named after Moll Kissane. Moll was the landlady of what is known as a ‘Shebeen’.

A ‘Shebeen’ is a small, unlicensed pub that was once commonly found dotted throughout Ireland.

Moll Kissane’s ‘Sheebeen’

Moll’s ‘Shebeen’ sprung up during the construction of the Killarney to Kenmare road in the 1820s.

The road would have required a lot of effort to construct, with many-a-hardy-fella said to take part in the build.

Now, hard work builds a fine aul thirst. And Moll spotted an opportunity.

Moll’s Poitin

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

The story goes that Moll made Poitin somewhere close to what we know known as ‘Moll’s Gap’.

The Poitin was said to fuel the 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.

What to look out for when visiting Moll’s Gap

Molls Gap

Photos via Shutterstock

As I mentioned earlier, some feel a little let down by Moll’s Gap (going off the many emails we receive, anyway).

However, it’s a great stop along the ROK route once you know what to expect. If you’re starting the Ring of Kerry in Killarney, you’ll follow the route clockwise and eventually hit Ladies Gap.

The road that leads to the gap is a beaut

From here, this is where the approach to Moll’s Gap begins, and this is where the magic starts.

If you look at the map above, you’ll see a blue line. This isn’t Moll’s Gap, but it’s the route towards it.

This is a beautiful stretch of road with many bends and you’ll be treated to glorious views of Looscaunagh Lough and the national park.

The view back from the parking area

The yellow marker on the map above is the car park at Moll’s Gap. From here, you’ll get a good eyeful of the road you’ve just spun along

Although it isn’t an aerial view, the car park is slightly elevated, so you’ll get a good view of the mountains, the gap and the very bendy road.

Things to see near Moll’s Gap

One of the beauties of Moll’s Gap in Killarney is that it fits nicely into a 1-day Ring of Kerry itinerary.

If you look at the map above, you’ll get a sense of the main attractions nearby, however, here are my favourites:

  1. Ladies View (10-minute drive): A spectacular view point ranked as one of the most photographed views in Ireland
  2. Torc Waterfall (25-minute drive): An impressive falls dropping 20 meters from the face of Torc Mountain
  3. Killarney National Park (30-minute drive): A place of immense natural beauty that can be explore on foot or bike
  4. Ross Castle (35-minute drive): 15th century castle that overlooks the lower lake
  5. Muckross Abbey (30-minute drive): Stunning ruins from 1448

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