The Best of County Cork – Healy Pass

Fancy getting away from it all for a while? – I mean REALLY getting away from it all. Then you will love it up here! You’ll be forgiven for thinking at times that you’ve actually left the planet – this is a desolate, harsh landscape but stunning in its bleakness. A mere 13 km in length, its one of Ireland’s great driving routes.

To reach this place, you must head for the Beara peninsula in West Cork. This peninsula doesn’t get the same attention and visitor volume as that of neighbouring Ring of Kerry or Dingle peninsula. Traffic is light and the near empty road adds to the sense of isolation.

This was one of Ireland’s famine roadsconstructed as part of an ‘initiative’ for creating jobs during the famine years (1845-49). The original track though the mountains was known as Bealach Scairt (the way of the Sheltered Caves). Tim Healy was a Cork politician who served as the first governor general of the Irish Free State. When retiring, Healy asked that the route be upgraded and improved. Upon his death in 1931, the road was named in his honour.

The road winds between two of the highest points in the Caha Mountains , linking Counties Cork and Kerry. Starting on the Cork side, a series of serpantine bends gradually ascend towards the top of the pass.

This is great cycling country…..

Stones embedded in the rock commemorate the 1931 renaming of the route…

Looking back in the direction we came from….

….and looking forward into County Kerry…..

There’s a change in landscape from one side of the pass to the other – the Cork side is bleak and barren, the Kerry side is almost lush by comparison!

Two Cars!!! Wow – rush hour!!!!

The view on this side is dominated by Glanmore Lake and Kenmare Bay…in the distance you can see part of the Ring of Kerry

Small Stuff

The road won’t be cluttered with tour buses but it is narrow! Mostly what you might call single track, you just pull into a cut out and let oncoming cars pass. Oh – and watch out for sheep – they do, after all, have right-of-way!

Before you go…

If you’re thinking of visiting the south-west, have a look at these…

The Best of County Cork – Garnish Island

The Best of Kerry – Killarney National Park

The Best of Kerry – the Ring of Kerry

The Best of Kerry – Slea Head

The Best of Kerry – The Maharees

18 thoughts on “The Best of County Cork – Healy Pass

  1. Your photos look absolutely amazing, Marie 😀I was so excited to go for a drive through the Healey Pass. I desired to finally see the famous views and the twisting road. Unfortunately, due to the heavy rain and fog, we didn’t get to see much, yet it was still an amazing experience to drive over the mountain pass. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀

  2. Looks an absolutely stunning place to explore. I still haven’t been to Ireland but adding this on my list to see when I get to visit Cork 🙂

      1. Haha I know! I almost ended up there in 2019 but it didn’t pan out, maybe in 2021!

  3. Been there, done that, on a rainy, foggy day too, but loved the barrenness of the place and the sense of doom it had. My husband vowed never to go back there – but he did – as the whole driving experience unnerved him, from the road signs that changed from miles to kilometres without telling him, to not seeing a soul for hours on end. Even the sheep seemed a trifle desolate. Thanks for filling in the history, always important when travelling.

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