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The Healy Pass was built in 1847, largely as a famine relief project. Even today, it is difficult to believe that (excluding the tourists) there is enough traffic between Adrigole and Lauragh to justify the effort involved.

It is based on an earlier pass route known, rather charmingly, as Bealach Scairt (the way of the sheltered caves).

It is named after Tim Healy (1855 - 1931), the controversial first Governor-General of the Irish Free State, who was born in Bantry and had strong links to the area through his wife Eliza Sullivan.