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Gap: walk or bike in March?

Minnesota
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157 posts
63 reviews
Gap: walk or bike in March?

Hello,

On the chance that one of our 2days in Killarney in late March treats us to good weather we' d like to walk or bike the Gap. Could anyone tell us about how long each option takes? We are reasonably fit, and two of us are runners. thanks in advance for any help.

Limerick, Ireland
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for Limerick
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28,877 posts
88 reviews
1. Re: Gap: walk or bike in March?

There are two ways of "doing" The Gap.

One is to do a circle from Kate Kearneys to the Gap and back. The other is to go through the Black Valley.

I think the Black Valley route is spectacular but its much longer and you'd need a bike (or a full, long day). You leave Killarney via the Muckross Road, then either take the diversion for Lord Brandon's Cottage after the tunnel on the way up to Ladies View and go across country OR you could go the full way up to Moll's Gap, then take a right, then the next right and go down into the Black Valley.

The route via Lord Brandon's is shorter and still lovely. But a lot of it is walkway rather than roadway. There is more roadway via Moll's.

I'm a bit of a lazy individual so I've only driven the route but it takes about 2 hours in the car to do Killarney to Killarney via the Black Valley.

If you want to go via Kate Kearney's Cottage, you can drive to Kate Kearney's then walk - it should take you about 90 minutes there and back.

Google image "Black Valley" to get an idea of how beautiful this location is.

Cork, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Ireland
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14,015 posts
389 reviews
2. Re: Gap: walk or bike in March?

You will love the gap whatever the weather and if you are both runners then the gap will pose few problems for you.

What I like to do is walk or cycle from Kate Kearneys cottage (8 miles from Killarney) to the gap and back on the same road. However there is another option that I am not fully familiar with which will allow you do a full circuit trip from Killarney either on foot or by bike which includes a lake boat trip back to Killarney. Tonyirish I believe has done this circular trip (i think), so he can give you details about it.

If however you just want to walk from kate kearneys cottage to the gap this will take just over one hour each way depending on how often you stop for photos etc. If you take a bike it will be a much shorter duration. It's a really lovely walk which you must share (unfortunately) with car traffic, but at least there are few speed merchants on the road as it is very narrow in places and in March you should not be troubled by too many cars. Get your waving hand ready as all the locals like to wave a greeting as they drive past! There are many fabulous photo opportunities on the way not to mention many spots to just stop and watch the world go by. I love to bring a picnic, find a nice vantage point and watch the pony and traps clack by.

Regarding by bike, it is a perfect location to take a bike. The only challenge is a few fairly steep hills as you approach the gap but nothing too strenuous. I must admit there have been occassions where I have had to throw in the towel, dismount and walk with bike for a few minutes.

On return to Kate Kearneys cottage I always reward myself with something from this very touristy but not at all bad pub. That is once I have gotten over the glum-ness of some of the staff working there.

Do try and get some info on that circular trip I mentioned above, I think you would love it.

If you do take a bike and you hire it from Killarney town, remember that you will have to cycle the 8 miles from Killarney to Kate Kearneys cottage, so factor that in. You cannot hire bikes at Kate Kearneys

If you go to the gap early enough any day in March you could find that you have the whole place almost to yourself - ENJOY!

Edited: 06 February 2011, 11:08
Merced, California
Destination Expert
for Killarney
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3,471 posts
83 reviews
3. Re: Gap: walk or bike in March?

The question I would have is whether you wish to do it yourself or to do it as part of a tour. I highly recommend the tour which starts at E20 for the boat. If you decide on the tour you can book with http://www.derostours.com/gapofdunloe.html and again you will have options. You can walk, take a bike (which you will have to hire separately from say http://www.killarneyrentabike.com/ E15 for a day) or hire a juanting car at Kate Kearney's from about E20 each.

If you decide to walk, Deros will take you from Killarney town to Kates from where you will walk through the Gap and by the Black Valley to Lord Brandon's Cottage from where a boat will take you through the lakes to Ross Castle, Deros will again take you by bus back to town but you could also walk back to town along the lake through the National Park. Deros charge E10 for the bus. So E20 for the boat and E10 for the bus.

If you decide to hire bikes you can meet the boat at Ross Castle at 10am and it will take you through the lakes to Lord Brandon's from where you can ride up and through the gap and then back into town via that 8 miles stretch that Bryno mentions. This will cost E20 for the boat and E15 for the bike.

If you take the lazy route like I have done you take the bus to Kates, cart to Brandons and boat to Ross and bus or walk back to town for E50 total.

If you wish to explore entirely on your own I would park at Kates and walk up into and back down out of the Gap and take as long as you wish hiking. This option being the cheapest.

Cork, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Ireland
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14,015 posts
389 reviews
4. Re: Gap: walk or bike in March?

Thanks TonyI. What size are the boat i.e. are they just large open row boats with engine or are they larger than that?

Merced, California
Destination Expert
for Killarney
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3,471 posts
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5. Re: Gap: walk or bike in March?

Slightly larger than a typical row boat and yes, they use an outboard engine. Big enough to put several bikes up front and still get 10-12 people in comfortably. Here is a pic of a typical boat passing in front of Dinnis Cottage on the Muckross Lake. images.reserve123.com/product/12707-1.jpg and this pic shows the leg room left with a typical load of passengers departing from Lord Brandon's cottage http://tinyurl.com/4hvvmjc

Cork, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Ireland
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14,015 posts
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6. Re: Gap: walk or bike in March?

Very good tony, thanks for the photos. Lots of happy faces there! I'd love to do the full circuit taking my bike on the boat.

A 'to-do' for next spring/summer me thinks!

Merced, California
Destination Expert
for Killarney
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3,471 posts
83 reviews
7. Re: Gap: walk or bike in March?

Yes, it is a trip everyone should try to take at some stage. My advice for persons with bikes is to ride your bike from town down to Ross Castle and get the boat from there at 10am. You will pay the boatman E20 when you arrive at Lord Brandon's Cottage. Begin your bike ride and stop to have your packed lunch when you are up and over and into the Gap of Dunloe. Stop again at Kate Kearney's for a pick me up before riding back into town. And instead of riding your bike all along the main road into town, you can enter a bike path just before the entrance to Killarney Golf Club and ride through the park - it takes a bit longer and is more hilly but better than riding on the main road the whole way.

Cork, Ireland
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for Ireland
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14,015 posts
389 reviews
8. Re: Gap: walk or bike in March?

Sounds fabulous.

9. Re: Gap: walk or bike in March?

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