Moll's Gap is a passageway through the bleak bog land and mountainous terrain, which runs from Kenmare to Killarney in County Kerry. This 9.5 mile / 15.5 km route along the N71 forms part of the Ring of Kerry and features stunning views of the Macgillycuddy Reeks mountains. Many tourists visit the Gap each year to enjoy the world- famous view. Situated on the watershed of the Iveragh Peninsula, the pass is formed from old red sandstone rocks. It is a narrow, winding, hilly route but has light traffic, and is a popular with cyclists. Nearby Avoca overlooks the lush mountains and the Killarney Lakes. The view takes in Carrountoohill, Ireland's highest mountain to one side and the Gap of Dunloe to the other side.
Moll's Gap is named after Moll Kissane, who ran an illegal brew-house, or sibin (She-Been) while the Killarney-Kenmare road was under construction in the 1820s.
She was famous for her poitin (Put-Cheen), a high-potency alcohol made from potatoes, which was traditionally distilled in a small pot -- the name poitin literally means 'small pot'. The home brew was strong, as much as 80% alcohol volume, with a distinctive dry grainy flavour.
Moll's Gap Sheep Farm
Moll's ancestor, John Kissane, still lives on the family grounds and runs Moll's Gap Sheep Farm where patrons can adopt a sheep. The Kissanes open the farm to the adoptive parents who can see a sheepdog demo, sheep-shearing demo, cuddle and bottle feed orphaned lambs, and avail themselves of other privileges. The farm also publishes a newsletter containing complete information about the sheep, lambs, sheepdogs, and other farm activities.
Avoca Café and Shop
For visitors who want to take a break, the Avoca store and café at Moll's Gap is a well-known local landmark. One of Ireland's most popular shopping brands, the store sells homeware, jewellery, clothes, souvenirs and other items worth browsing. Throws of lambswool, mohair, and cashmere from Wicklow Mill are also for sale. Avoca is well-known for its wholesome tasty food, and its excellent location offers means visitors can enjoy fine views from the café.
Moll's Gap Lookout. Image by Graham White.