The Caha Pass transports the unsuspecting traveller into the rugged and beautiful landscape of Bonane, which encapsulates many of the marvels that nature has to showcase. Distant white farmhouses scattered among the slopes, reveal a unique way of life to the wandering eye. Nothing can beat the wild grandeur of the Caha Mountains with their breath-taking magnificence – enriching the surrounding valleys with a beauty which no pen can adequately describe.
In the early 1800s, the pass as we know it today, was merely a pathway over the Caha mountains – home to goats, sheep and from time to time, the occasional drifter on horseback. Although Ireland’s road network was well developed by 1800, there were still many remote areas – especially in western regions, that were not well served by roads. In 1822, government grants were made available for road-building projects and roads were eventually constructed to serve the country’s western counties. In 1842 ‘The New Line’ as it was known locally, was officially opened. It connected the towns of Glengarriff and Kenmare and the Caha Pass was established. The road also became part of the ‘Prince of Wales’ route.
Along this enchanting route there are many hidden treasures, from the flora and fauna to the numerous streams and rivers enriching the valley. The most breath-taking of all these are ‘The Tunnels’. In the 1840s while the Caha Pass was under construction, it was decided that the road would be constructed through the rock faces and not over them. The Tunnels leave a lasting image in our minds, of the hardship endured during their construction and the long days’ labour, rewarded by a meagre wage.
Nowadays we enjoy the splendour of this mystical landscape – nestling amongst the majestic Caha and Shehy Mountains, as it continues to captivate tourist and traveller alike. May all its visitors encounter its magical charm and travel in safety.