Healy Pass | Irelands Great Drives
Healy Pass Ireland is found in southwest,
a perfect diversion from the longer Ring of Beara driving route. The serpentine R457 winds through a desolate, otherworldly landscape, passing between two of the highest summits in the Caha mountain range and rising to 334 metres above sea level.
The Healy Pass was created in 1847 during the famine years in order to help prevent starvation. It’s named for Time Michael Healy, a politician from Cork who served as the first governor general of the Irish Free State. Upon his retirement, Healy asked that the bridleway winding through the pass be upgraded and improved.
The route officially begins at Adrigole Bridge in County Cork and proceeds to Lauragh Bridge in County Kerry. Along the way is 12 km worth of hairpin turns winding through the borderlands between these two counties. The landscape is littered with rocks and serves as grazing land for flocks of sheep. Killarney car rental is available at Kerry Airport.
Photo credit: ©Lukasz Warzecha - Ireland Content Pool
When you reach the highest vantage point of Healy Pass and stop to admire the view, you’ll probably wonder why this area isn’t more popular with tourists. But that’s part of the wonder of southwest Ireland. With so many visitors flocking to the Dingle Way and the Ring of Kerry, the Beara Peninsula is often overlooked.
It’s also worth mentioning that the pass – while located in the vicinity of the Ring of Beara – is not technically part of that driving circuit. Both routes are well worth exploring, but the Healy Pass is not to be missed. By all means, experience both routes. But if you have to choose one over the other, make it the Healy Pass.
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Other driving routes in Ireland:
As shown above, the best ways to explore Ireland is by taking road trips around the Island at your own pace and preferences. Ireland offers many self touring options;
- The Sky Road - "The Capital of Connemara", County Galway
- Slea Head - Drive on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
- The Ring of Kerry - 179km stretch with spectacular landscape, County Kerry
- The Ring of Beara - Located in Co. Kerry and Co. Cork with 137km driving route
- Causeway Coastal Route - The Causeway Coastal Route offers an epic tour of the Northern Ireland coast
- Lough Inagh Drive - 165 km of the Galway coast
- The Wild Atlantic Way - Ireland’s first and only 2,500km driving route, which will stretch along the Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork.