Here’s how you can make the most out of your next trip to this great county.
Start your adventure with the Bailieborough Castle Forest Walk
This beautiful lake and forest walk traverse the Bailieborough demesne of the former castle which was demolished in the 1940s.
Choose between two looped walks at the Bailieborough Castle Forest Walk– the Castle Loop (6.5km) which takes about two hours or the shorter Lake Loop (3.5km) that takes just one. Both will take you right around the Castle Lake and there are plenty of great viewing points along the way. Pass by historical sites like a memorial to those who died on Rebel Hill in 1798, graves of the Marist brothers who occupied Bailieborough Castle, and the remains of the castle itself.
Journey back in time at Cavan County Museum
Make your way west to visit the Cavan County Museum in Ballyjamesduff where you’ll discover several exciting attractions. Ramble around the largest outdoor replica trench in Ireland and the UK. A must-see attraction, it replicates what life was like in the trenches during World War I and was built to exact specifications of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
The museum itself is in a beautiful Georgian building and covers everything from the Stone Age right up to the 20th century, with material spanning over 6,000 years of occupation in Cavan. Navigate through galleries and exhibitions as well as two of the most famous pieces of Celtic and Pagan art – the Killycluggan Stone and Ralaghan figure.
Be intrigued by the mysteries of The Shannon Pot
A final slice of legendary folklore before you finish your journey, this pool of curiosity called The Shannon Pot is found along the Cavan Way in the townland of Derrylahan. The pool itself is about 16 m (52 ft) wide and divers have explored to depths of 14.6 metres (48 ft).
The Shannon Pot’s fame can be traced back to the mythological times of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the Fianna. Legend has it that Síonnan, the daughter of Lodan (son of Lír, the Celtic God of the Sea) came to The Shannon Pot in search of the Salmon of Wisdom. The great salmon was angered by the sight of Síonnan and the pool overflowed to drown the maiden. Thus, the Shannon was created and still bears her name today.
Central Cavan and beyond
Be astonished by the architecture of Cavan Cathedral
Head north towards Cavan Town and see the eye-catching Cavan Cathedral. Also known as the Cathedral of Saint Patrick and Saint Felim, this Roman Catholic building is one of the most impressive in Ireland.
With a 68m spire and flanking domes, it was completed in 1942 and its interior is shaped like a basilica with extensive use of both marble and ecclesiastical art. Six splendid stained-glass windows come from the studios of Harry Clarke and were added in 1994.
Top off the day with a hearty meal
Take a quick ten-minute spin up the road to Butlersbridge and finish off your day with a meal at Murph’s Gastro Bistro in the Derragarra Inn. Full of character, this is an award-winning family-run pub will have you singing its praises. If you’re looking for quality food, friendly service and to unwind after a long day of exploring Cavan’s best, Murph’s will sate your appetite.
Get up bright and early and explore Cavan’s lakelands
If you’re feeling adventurous, hire a kayak and paddle out to Clough Oughter Castle with Cavan Adventure Centre. Clough Oughter Castle, now a ruin, is on a small crannóg in Lough Oughter just east of the quaint village of Killeshandra. Nicknamed by locals as “The Silent Stone Watchman”, this 12th Century Norman structure is only accessible by water.
Cavan is said to have a lake for every day of the year with anglers from all over Europe flocking to these lakelands renowned for coarse fishing. Here you’ll find an abundance of pike, bream and perch.
Be one with the wildlife with Blue Damsel Discovery
Following your adventures on the water, continue to head west to Killeshandra and meet up with Heather Bothwell of Blue Damsel Discovery. A Cavan native, Heather is a keen naturalist and will share insider knowledge about the mesmerising wildlife of her home county.
Listen and learn about birdsong by the lake or head to the woodlands. The area is buzzing with wildlife and at certain times of the year you will spot dragonflies and damselflies fluttering on the breeze.
Take a breather at the Jampa Ling Tibetan Meditation Centre
After discovering local delights, head north west to the Jampa Ling Tibetan Meditation Centre just ten minutes from the charming town of Ballyconnell. The Dalai Lama has been the patron of this meditation and retreat centre for over 25 years. It is based on a tranquil 19th century estate and open to people of all faiths and none. Visitors often come to Jampa Ling to simply relax in its peaceful ambience and natural beauty.
Wine and dine in MacNean House and Restaurant
To top off your whirlwind trip of Cavan, head for an unforgettable meal at the famous MacNean House led by top Irish chef, Neven Maguire. Be sure to book in advance as it is exceptionally popular. Here you’ll find the best hospitality experience while indulging in mouthwatering food at the award-winning restaurant. To gain hands-on experience, visitors can book into MacNean’s very own cookery school and get to grips with tempting recipes using local produce.
If you have time – a scenic drive to experience unspoilt beauty
Take a journey to the south of Cavan to the pretty village of Lough Gowna and its surrounding lakes. Rolling green drumlin hills carved during the ice age, bustling hedgerows full of wildlife and still, clear waters with swans gliding calmly along are some of the serene scenes to take in. If you are interested in fishing, there are bream, perch, pike, some trout and eels in these waters. Take advantage of the excellent facilities, good bank fishing spots and boats for hire from the friendly local businesses.
There’s so much to experience that it’s no wonder that people fall in love with Cavan when they visit.