The Sally Gap is one of two east-to-west passes that goes right through the Wicklow Mountains. The official name for the road in question is the R579 for those of you who may try to locate the area on Google Maps. The Sally Gap can be accessed from Laragh, Roundwood, Enniskerry or Blessington and provides a more interesting alternative route to the M50 for travellers to Dublin. If you’re looking for a scenic “spin” (Irish colloquial speak for a drive!) on your trip to Ireland, the best route at your disposal is through the Sally Gap in Co. Wicklow.
But, be warned – there are some very winding roads and tight squeezes on the route, and winter can make the trail a little challenging at times, but the scenery on offer along The Sally Gap is worth the hardship of the drive. Trust us on this one!
The British Army built the road along The Sally Gap after the great rebellion of 1978. The aim of the road was to allow the British to easily travel through the Wicklow Mountains, hunting rebels of The United Irishman who had retreated to hiding in the Wicklow Mountains. To this day, the road along the Sally Gap is still known as the Military Road. The view from the road along the gap is lengthy and while this extensive view used to serve only to benefit British soldiers seeking out the enemy, today it offers tourists lengthy views of some of the finest scenery in Ireland. In fact, the highest point at the Sally Gap is where it crosses the R115 Military Road (R115) standing at 503m (1,650 ft) above altitude. Can you feel your ears popping already?
We’ve mentioned it numerous times already but we can’t stress how incredible the scenery along the Sally Gap actually is. You’ll take in the valley of the River Liffey, the moors of the Sally Gap plateau, the Glenmacnass Waterfall, Kippure Mountain, Glencree Valley and the deep Lough Tay Lake as you travel along the route. As if this isn’t enough, you’ll also get to take in the various wild peaks of the Wicklow Mountains, carpets of purple heather and patches of blanket bog. Some great tourist attractions along the way include the Glencree German War Cemetery and The Glencree Visitor Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.
All in all, the Sally Gap constitutes an hour-long drive and given all that has been said above and taking into account what other visitors to the area have to say, it is definitely worth taking an hour out of your trip to take in the views that this route has to offer. When visiting, don’t forget to take some time to get out and walk around the various trails surrounding the gap to grab some amazing photographs that you won’t get anywhere else in Ireland.
For breath-taking views and an awesome mini road trip in the beautiful Co. Wicklow, put a drive through The Sally Gap on your Irish bucket list!