Ballaghbeama Gap (2023): Going off the Beaten Path on the Ring of Kerry

Have you ever heard of the unspoiled and enchanting Ballaghbeama Gap?

It’s a hidden gem in the heart of Ireland’s stunning Ring of Kerry and an absolute must-visit off-the-beaten-path destination for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts.  

It’s a destination that will surely let you immerse in a world of captivating landscapes, ancient history, and tranquility.

So, let’s step off the beaten path and discover this magnificent spot for an unforgettable journey in Ireland.

Ballaghbeama Gap with rocky mountains.
Ballaghbeama Gap

Where Is the Ballaghbeama Gap Located?

šŸ“ Ballaghbeama Gap Map

Ballaghbeama Gap lies in Southwest Ireland, offering an escape from the bustling tourist areas while still being easily accessible.

It goes through the mesmerizing landscape between the mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula, showcasing awe-inspiring views and unspoiled rugged beauty.

Ballaghbeama Gap Map.
Ballaghbeama Gap Map

šŸ‘‰šŸ½ Where Does the Drive Start and End?

The drive through Ballaghbeama Gap starts and ends along the Ring of Kerry, a picturesque circular route that showcases some of  Ireland’s most breathtaking scenery.

Specifically, the drive begins near the town of Sneem, situated on the southern side of the Ring of Kerry, and continues through the scenic mountain pass, only to end near the village of Kligarvan. 

Is Ballaghbeama Gap Worth Visiting?

Absolutely! Ballaghbeama Gap is definitely worth visiting for those seeking an authentic and off-the-beaten-path experience on the Ring of Kerry.

After all, it is a hidden gem offering a stunning and untouched natural beauty that is often missed by tourists who stick to the more popular attractions in the area.

šŸ“Œ How Long Does It Take to Drive the Ballaghbeama Gap? 

The duration of the drive through the Ballaghbeama Gap can vary depending on various factors, such as traffic, weather conditions, and the speed you choose to drive.

However, on average, it takes around 45 minutes to an hour to drive through this scenic mountain pass. 

But it’s important to note that the journey is not just about the speed. It’s about the experience of immersing yourself in the beauty of the surroundings. 

Take your time to appreciate the stunning views, snap some photos, and perhaps even make a few stops to explore the area further. 

Ballaghbeama Gap on a cloudy day.

šŸ“Œ Is Ballaghbeama Gap Dangerous? 

While the Ballaghbeama Gap can be thrilling and challenging, it is not particularly dangerous as long as drivers practice caution and proper driving. 

The road through the drive is narrow and winding, with some steep inclines and declines.

Therefore, it requires careful attention and good driving skills, especially if encountering oncoming traffic. 

It is essential to drive at a controlled speed, stay within your lane, and be aware of any potential hazards.

Additionally, adverse weather conditions, such as heavy fog or rain, can make the drive more challenging.

So, it’s best to check weather updates before driving through the Ballaghbeama Gap.

šŸ“Œ Is Driving the Ballaghbeama Gap Difficult?

As already mentioned, driving through the Ballaghbeama Gap can be challenging, especially for those not familiar with rural and mountainous roads.

The tight turns, steep inclines, and descents, as well as the occasional presence of oncoming traffic or even sheep and goats, require focus and skill behind the wheel. 

Therefore, it is advisable for drivers to have a reasonable level of experience and confidence before attempting this route. 

If you are unsure or feel uncomfortable driving in such conditions, consider opting for alternative means of transportation like guided tours or hiring a local driver who is familiar with the route. 

A car parked at Ballaghbeama Gap road.

Tips for Driving the Ballaghbeama Pass

1. Bring a Compact Vehicle

Due to the narrow and winding nature of the road, having a smaller vehicle will make driving much easier and less stressful. 

Specifically, with a compact car, you’ll have increased agility and the ability to navigate tight turns and narrow stretches more comfortably, minimizing the risk of potential scrapes or encounters with oncoming traffic. 

Additionally, parking and finding spaces to pull over for photos or to admire the stunning views will be much simpler in a compact vehicle. 

2. Be Cautious of Other Vehicles

As indicated, the road through the pass is narrow and winding, making encounters with oncoming traffic possible.

Therefore, it’s important to remain alert and prepared to give way or find a wider spot to let other vehicles pass. 

Always keep an eye out for approaching cars and use your mirrors frequently to stay aware of the traffic around you.

If necessary, use hand signals or communicate with other drivers to ensure a safe and smooth passage. 

Beautiful mountains at Ballaghbeama Gap.

3. Watch Out for Sheep and Goats

As you drive through Ballaghbeama Pass, be mindful of the local inhabitants, specifically the sheep and goats that roam freely in the surrounding areas. 

These curious creatures often wander onto the road, posing a potential hazard for drivers.

So, stay observant and keep an eye out for any signs of livestock crossing.

Also, slow down when approaching bends or blind spots, as this will give you more time to react if any animals unexpectedly appear. 

Remember to give these gentle creatures plenty of space and avoid unnecessary honking, which may startle or frighten them. 

4. Use GPS or Google Maps

The road throughout the pass winds its way through breathtaking landscapes, and if you constantly stop and wander around, it can be easy to lose your way without a reliable navigation tool. 

Therefore, using GPS or Google Maps ensures you stay on track and find the correct route, keeping you from getting lost or venturing off into unfamiliar areas. 

Additionally, these navigation tools will guide you along the most efficient path while also alerting you to upcoming turns, junctions, and points of interest throughout the pass. 

5. Check Your Fuel and Car Condition

The pass is located on a remote route and does not have readily available fuel stations.

So it is wise to fill up your tank beforehand, ensuring you have enough fuel to comfortably complete the journey. 

Additionally, be sure to check your vehicle’s maintenance and ensure that tires, brakes, lights, and fluid levels are all in optimal condition.

A breakdown in such a secluded area can be inconvenient and may cause unnecessary stress. 

Curved road in Ballaghbeama Gap on a cloudy day.

6. Take Your Time and Enjoy the Scenic Landscapes

One of the most important tips is to take your time and fully savor the picturesque landscapes surrounding you.

This hidden gem of Ireland’s countryside offers breathtaking vistas, rugged mountains, and an untouched natural beauty that deserves admiration. 

So, slow down, appreciate the severity of the surroundings, and take breaks at the viewpoints along the way.

Capture photographs, breathe in the fresh air, and immerse yourself in this tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. 

Remember, the journey through Ballaghbeama Pass is not just about reaching the destination but about embracing the entire experience and creating lasting memories. 

Things to Do Near Ballaghbeama Gap

āœ”ļø Explore Kenmare

When visiting the Ballaghbeama Gap, visit the charming town of Kenmare, a scenic destination between the Ring of Kerry and the Beara Peninsula

While in Kenmare, stroll along the colorful streets lined with boutique shops, galleries, and traditional pubs.

Indulge in the local cuisine by trying delicious seafood or visiting one of the town’s renowned restaurants.

Furthermore, explore the history and heritage of Kenmare by visiting landmarks like Kenmare Stone Circle or Kenmare Heritage Center. 

For adventurous souls, there are opportunities for hiking, cycling, fishing, and golfing in the surrounding breathtaking landscapes.

Or, immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Kenmare with a boat ride along Kenmare Bay or a scenic drive along the stunning Ring of Beara.

Ballaghbeama Gap's narrow road.

āœ”ļø Mountain Climbing

For adventurous spirits seeking an adrenaline rush, one exciting activity to consider near the Ballaghbeama Gap is mountain climbing.

With the beautiful mountain landscapes in the area, climbers can challenge themselves and embrace the thrill of scaling peaks and conquering summits. 

ā›° Carrauntoohil

If you’re an experienced climber or an adventure enthusiast looking for a thrilling challenge, look no further than Carrauntoohil.

As the highest peak in Ireland, Carrauntoohil is a majestic mountain many climbers wish to conquer.

This is because reaching its summit offers both physical exertion and stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. 

But climbing Carrauntoohil requires proper preparation and knowledge of mountaineering techniques because the ascent can be demanding due to changing weather conditions and rugged terrain. 

Therefore, it’s best to plan the climb with an experienced guide or join an organized group to ensure safety and make the most of the experience.

The Ballaghbeama Gap with rocky mountains.

ā›° Mullaghanattin Mountain

Mullaghanattin Mountain is another fantastic option for avid mountain climbers.

Standing tall at 773 meters, it offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and provides a thrilling ascent for adventure seekers. 

The rugged terrain, steep slopes, and rocky outcrops make it a rewarding climb.

But as with any mountain climb, it’s crucial to be well-prepared, have appropriate gear, and assess the weather conditions beforehand. 

So, exploring Mullanghanattin allows you to immerse yourself in the area’s stunning natural beauty while testing your physical abilities.

ā›° Torc Mountain Hill

If you’re looking for a mountain climbing adventure that offers awe-inspiring views without an overly strenuous trek, Torc Mountain Hill is an excellent choice.

Rising to a height of 535 meters, Torc Mountain offers a well-marked trail taking you through picturesque woodlands and viewpoints with magnificent vistas of Killarney National Park and the surrounding lakes. 

Furthermore, the relatively moderate terrain makes it accessible to both novice and experienced climbers, and the summit rewards you with breathtaking views of the stunning Irish landscape. 

A car parked at the Ballaghbeama Gap.

ā›° Cardiac Hill

Cardiac Hill is an iconic ascent with a steep incline that will push your physical limits and get your heart pounding. As you conquer each step, the sense of accomplishment is unmatched. 

Furthermore, the vistas that greet you at the top make all the effort worthwhile, allowing you to fully appreciate the magnificent beauty of the surrounding landscape. 

So, whether you’re an experienced climber or seeking a thrilling challenge, tackling Cardiac Hill near the Ballaghbeama Gap guarantees an unforgettable adventure.

āœ”ļø Enjoy the Views of Augher Lake

The serene and enchanting Augher Lake sits nestled amidst the captivating Irish countryside and offers mesmerizing views and a sense of tranquility.

Take a leisurely stroll along the lakeshore, have a picnic by the shimmering waters mirroring the beauty of the surrounding landscape, or swim in the lake’s emerald waters, if the weather allows it, and capture the stunning scenery with your camera. 

In other words, a visit to Augher Lake is the perfect retreat to enjoy a peaceful day away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The Ballaghbeama Gap under a cloudy sky.

āœ”ļø Visit the Gap of Dunloe

Gap of Dunloe is a must-visit natural wonder for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. 

Embark on a scenic hike or bike ride through the narrow, winding passageway surrounded by majestic mountains and verdant valleys.

Immerse yourself in the rugged beauty and soak up the serenity enveloping the area. 

Along the way, you’ll encounter charming stone bridges, cascading waterfalls, and sparkling streams that add to the enchantment of the journey. 

For a truly unforgettable experience, opt for a traditional horse-drawn carriage ride known as a jaunting car, and let the local guides regale you with captivating stories and folklore.

āœ”ļø Marvel at the Killarney National Park Landscapes

Killarney National Park is an expansive park and natural paradise, encompassing lush green forests, serene lakes, and majestic mountains. 

Take a leisurely stroll along the well-marked trails and allow your senses to absorb nature’s sights, sounds, and scents.

Marvel at the grandeur of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range that gracefully frames the park. 

Additionally, admire the beauty of Muckross House and Gardens, a stunning Victorian mansion surrounded by meticulously manicured gardens.

Explore the shimmering waters of Lough Leane, Upper Lake, and Lower Lake, each offering its own unique charm. 

Furthermore, keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife that calls the park home, including red deer, otters, and various bird species.

Signage of Ballaghbeama Gap.

Frequently Asked Questions

In Which Part of Ireland Is the Ballaghbeama Gap Located?

Ballaghbeama Gap is located in the southern part of Ireland in County Kerry.

Is the Ballaghbeama Gap Road Too Narrow?

Yes, the Ballaghbeama Gap road is known for its narrowness.

It is a single-track road that winds through the gap, and it can be challenging for larger vehicles or those not accustomed to driving on such narrow roads.

Narrow road in Ballaghbeama Gap.

Is It Safe to Drive at Ballaghbeama Gap?

Driving at Ballaghbeama Gap can be safe if you exercise caution and follow the appropriate safety guidelines.Ā 

Signage of Ballaghbeama Gap surrounded by rocks and grass.

Final Thoughts: Ballaghbeama Gap

Ballaghbeama Gap offers a unique and exhilarating experience for those seeking to venture off the beaten path on the renowned Ring of Kerry.

A hidden gem in County Kerry promises breathtaking landscapes, thrilling activities, and a chance to immerse oneself in the beauty of nature. 

So, when planning your Ring of Kerry journey in 2023, donā€™t miss the opportunity to discover the magic and allure of the Ballaghbeama Gap, a true gem waiting to be explored.