Healy Pass

Famous Scenic Drive through the Irish Mountains

The Healy Pass in the Beara Peninsula is popular with car and motorcyclists. This road winds through the mountains of Ireland and offers pure driving pleasure. Its official name is R574 and runs from the town of Adrigole in County Cork to Lauragh. These are the best tips for driving this wonderful road with your own car or a rental car. With some highlights that you will encounter along the way.

If you travel through the southern part of Ireland you should also drive the famous Healy Pass. You can go by car, by motorcycle or by bicycle. Mind you, it is a bit of a climb. The highest point, with a wide panorama, is 334 meters high. Though it feels much higher when you are here as the surroundings show limited vegetation. In spring and summer, you can find some flowers as well.

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Origin of the Name Healy Pass

The name Healy Pass comes from Timothy Michael Healy, who was the first Governor General of the Irish Free State after Ireland gained independence in 1921. He died in 1931, just after the road was renovated. As a tribute, the road was named after him. The road soon became more famous.

The Remarkable History

This is what driving the Healy Pass looks like. ©Corno van den Berg

Year after year, between 1845 and 1849, the potato crop in Ireland failed. This caused great hunger. The government wanted to build new roads to connect the different parts of the country. The road workers were the people most affected by hunger. So they could earn money to buy food. Partly for this reason, the Healy Pass is still called a famine road.

Many Sheep

You have to watch out for sheep on the road. ©Corno van den Berg

The permanent residents of the Healy Pass are sheep. They are Scottish Blackface sheep, which can survive well in the mountains. These animals can appear anywhere and sometimes cross suddenly. Keep this in mind when driving here. Reduce your speed, which is a good plan anyway because of the many views.

Best Route

The beauty of Glanmore Lake. ©Corno van den Berg

I drove the Healy Pass in both directions to see what I thought was the most beautiful route. My conclusion: start from Adrigole. You will wind up through numerous hairpin bends and then drive back down via Glanmore Lake. It's also intriguing the other way around because you know that the road will eventually start to wind. But when? Once you are on top you will see how the road winds down. Which I think is a beautiful moment. There is also a parking lot there, so you can enjoy the view at your leisure.

Waterfalls along the Route

Een van de watervallen langs de weg. ©Corno van den Berg

You will find several (small) waterfalls along the route. The most beautiful can be found in the northern part, which has a stone bridge. There are a few parking spaces, so you can stop along the way. The water flows under the road, which sets a spectacular setting. Numerous flowers also grow along the water. I find this waterfall to be the most wonderful resting point en route.

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