If you haven’t got Cavan on your list for a short family break, you will after this.
Great things to do with kids in Cavan
Deerpark Forest Park
Fill your lungs with fresh country air at Deerpark Forest Park just outside Virginia. Choose any of the three looped walking trails, as they’re all suitable for all walking levels and the shortest is buggy friendly if you’re bringing a baby along. No matter which path you take, you'll find beautiful tree-lined paths skirting the banks of Lough Ramor. Stroll over stone bridges, past historic sites and let the kids run free as you take in the views.
Cavan County Museum
Step back in time at Cavan County Museum to life in the World War I trenches at the largest outdoor replica trench in Ireland and the UK. Built to official specifications, the 350m long trench includes frontline, communication and support trenches, using over 6,000 sandbags in its construction. School the kids on the history of the war at the exhibitions before getting down in the trenches to see what life was like. Head for the playground and tea rooms to refresh before you leave.
Erica’s Fairy Forest
If you’ve got little ones with big imaginations, stop by Erica’s Fairy Forest near Cootehill, a boundless space where you can follow their small feet from fairy door to fairy castle and wishing chair to hobbit house. Watch their wide-eyed wonder as they explore all the hidden crevices of the forest before settling down for a picnic in the park.
Rural Adventure Tours
Whether you’re a family of hikers and climbers, you want a cultural experience or you’re up for a water-borne adventure, Rural Adventure Tours has lots of family friendly options. Catering for all ages and abilities, you can abseil and rock climb in the morning, jump in a kayak in the afternoon and head to a traditional music session in the evening. They take the stress out of organising fun family activities built on off the beaten track locations you might not find yourself.
Cavan Adventure Centre
Paddle your way around the inland island of Inishmore on a Cavan Adventure Centre tour and appreciate Cavan’s lakelands from the water. Whether a kayak or canoe is your transport of choice, guided tours explore the local geology, architecture, wildlife and history that lies in the UNESCO World Heritage Marble Arch Caves Geopark area. Don’t worry if your family are beginners – the instructors will have you at one with an oar in no time.
Outdoors and Dirty (ODD)
If you’ve adventure-mad kids are aged ten and over you can really get their adrenaline going on a trip to Cavan at Outdoors and Dirty (ODD) outside Ballyconnell. If they love jet-skiing or quad-biking, they’ll be raring to hop on a hovercraft to speed and slide along. If they’ve been begging to go off-roading, a rage off-road buggy is the Ferrari of these buggies – the thrill of these fast, tough, tail-happy karts is unrivalled. Or be prepared to become the prime target during Splatball – junior paintball – where the kids might just decide to gang up on you. All in the name of fun, of course.
If you go down to the woods near Bawnboy today, Bear Essentials will surely be a big surprise. Kids love this designer teddy bear craft experience where all the bears are designed and hand-made on site. The gift shop stocks famous brands like Steiff, Charlie Bears and the owner Anke’s own one-off mohair teddy bear collection. Your little ones won’t be able to resist the collection of old teddies, including patients admitted to Teddy Bear Hospital. The surrounding tranquil gardens and the playground in the woods are also worth a visit.
Cavan Burren Park
If you’ve been saving your picnic for a special spot, Cavan Burren Park is the place to gather the family for a feast. One of the finest prehistoric landscapes in Ireland, discover megalithic tombs and stone walls, while the kids try to decipher the ancient rock art. With imaginative displays to explore in the Visitor Centre and five walking trails to choose from, you’ll leave feeling uplifted, alive and a real part of the Earth’s story after uncovering the many layers of archaeology dotted along the trails.
If you have more time in Cavan…
Dún na Rí Forest Park
Legend has it that Cú Chulainn camped in Dún na Rí Forest Park while fighting the armies of Queen Maeve of Connaught, and that’s just the start of this park’s history. Explore the 565-acre forest – that’s the size of 425 football pitches – to discover the Ice House, Toba na Splinne Holy Well, and Cromwell’s Bridge along the walking trails. Make sure the kids are on the lookout for the varied wildlife who call the park home – squirrels and hares are common spots, but only a lucky few will see otters along the river.
Killinkere Visitor Farm
Let the kids get hands-on at Killinkere Visitor Farm, a traditional working farm with some unusual petting farm animals. It’s not just lambs and piglets here - from llamas and miniature horses and rare birds, kids will love getting up close and personal with these curious animals. Hop on a tractor trailer or even on one of the farm’s ponies for a ride around the farm, and you can all enjoy tea and scones in the old farmhouse afterwards.
Whether you’re looking for some adrenaline-raising activities or just to enjoy family fun in a scenic spot, Cavan is a great place to visit for all ages. When are you planning your short break?