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The Mamore Gap, in the Inishowen Peninsula, offers some of the most stunning views along the most northerly part of the Wild Atlantic Way. It is also home to Donegal’s Magic Road.

A ‘Magic Road’ or ‘Gravity Hill’ is actually an optical illusion. A slight downward slope appears to be sloping upward, due to the land surrounding it, and cars , left in neutral, will appear to roll uphill.

Driving Donegal’s Magic Road

According to Wikipedia, Ireland has three ‘Gravity Hills’, though they don’t list Donegal’s ‘Magic Road’, which brings the count to 4.

We drove the ‘Inishowen’ 100 clockwise and entered the Mamore Gap not long after leaving Fort Dunree.

Entering Mamore Gap, County Donegal, Ireland
The ocean and sky blend seamlessly beyond Mamore Gap

Once the Mamore Gap was only road linking the town of Urris with Buncrana, to the south. From 1812-1815 the road through the gap was blocked and the area was declared the ‘Poitín Republic of Urris’ in order to avoid substantial fines for the illegal production of Poitín. The narrow pass through Mamore Gap was a useful point for Poitín smugglers to ambush police and military who tried to curtail their activities.

 Now the Mamore Gap provides thrilling views to those who venture into Ireland’s most northerly point.

Mamore Gap, Donegal, Ireland
View from the Holy Well at Mamore Gap

Near the top of the gap is a holy well to Saint Columcille, a large cairn, and a statue of the Virign Mary. Pilgrims still visit on August 15, the Fest of the Assumption of Our Blessed lady into Heaven, some climbing the Gap barefoot, to circle the religious site while reciting the Rosary.

Our Blessed Virgin, mamore Gap, Donegal, Ireland
One of three shrines at Mamore Gap

As you descend the Gap, you need to be sure to watch for the white stone at the left side of the road. When you reach that stone, stop your car and put it in neutral. Slowly lift your foot from the brake. You will feel your car begin to roll forward – seemingly uphill! You may know it’s an optical illusion, but it sure doesn’t feel like one!

Donegal's Magic Road, Mamore Gap
The car at the middle of the image is ascending the Magic Road. It certainly appears that the road is rising, doesn’t it?

Have you experienced one of Ireland’s ‘Magic Roads’? Will you search one out on your trip to Ireland?

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