Cavan county is all about lakes, which make up much of its area. The Shannon River, Irelandís longest, originates in the countyís Cuilcagh mountains. Itís also a good place to visit prehistoric ruins, do some fishing, and play golf. Cavan Attractions
Marble Arch European Geopark is within both county Fermanagh and county Cavan. The road in the park rises into the hills and offers fantastic views. Cuilcagh Mountain Park is part of the Geopark.
A Geopark attraction is Moneygashel Cashel, possibly dating from between AD 500 and AD1000. It consists of a circular stone wall and underground chamber. Tullydermot Falls is another attraction in the Geopark. It is located in the upper reaches of the Cladagh River.
Two miles from the village of Blacklion (on Northern Irelandís border) are the ruins of a 12th century church, Killinagh. South of Blacklion, in the Marble Arch Geopark is a limestone plateau, home to Burren Forest prehisotric complex with huts and tombs (Burren portal tomb, Calf House portal tomb, Giantís Leap wedge tomb, Calf House portal tomb). Five miles south-west of Ballinagh is Drumhownagh altar, a prehistoric tomb.
Cavan is the county town and a busy market and commercial center. Cavanís courthouse dates from the 19th century and the belfry tower of St Maryís Franciscan friary from the 14th century. The town also has a modern cathedral and a reconstructed, working 19th century corn mill. On Dublin Road is the Cavan Crystal Factory where visitors can watch lead crystal products being made by hand. Traditional music is on offer in the town pubs. North-west of Cavan is 18th century Farnham House, sited in 3000 acres of woodland.
North of Cavan, Belturbet, on the river Erne, offers a marina and fishing. A railway visitor centre at the 1885 stone rail station, which served Belturbet from October 1885, has narrow gauge train rides and a museum of information on the railway age. The Anglican church dates from the 17th century. A heritage town trail begins in the town centre known as the Diamond, across from the town hall. Turbet Island motte and bailey remains are on an island in the river near Belturbet. Walking trails and information panels are offered on the island.
Half a mile from the village of Milltown is the 6th century Drumlane Monastic Site between the lakes Drumlane and Derrybrick. The church dates from the 13-14th centuries. Behind the abbey in the lake is a crannog, an artificial island (BC 1000-AD 1600). In the mid-12th century, the Abbey was re-founded by the Augustinians and the upper section of the tower was added possibly in the 15th century. Most of what survives of the Church dates from the 15th and 17th centuries.
Cootehill, north-east of Cavan, is a fishing centre. A heritage town trail is on offer. At Maudabawn Cultural Centre near the village is a computer data base with information on the historical sites in the area: court tombs, dolmens, an Ogham stone, a corn mill, and a chapel. There are guides to show you around the site. Bellamont Forest is a 1730 Palladian villa just north of Cootehill. Plasterwork ceilings are the main attraction. Three miles east of Cootehill at Cohaw is a well preserved double chamber tomb 4000 years old.
Three and a half miles north-east of Cavan on Shantemon Hill are five stonesóthe remains of a stone circleócalled Finnís Fingers. Three miles west in parkland is neo-gothic Kilmore cathedral (Bedell Memorial Church) built in 1860, with a 12th century door on its north side. The Ballyhugh Arts and Cultural Centre on the road to Ballyconnell has exhibitions related to Irish culture and showcases ceilis.
Ballyconnell is a canal pleasure boat centre located north-west of the town of Cavan. The area is home to numerous archaeological sites including Ballyhugh fort (BC 800-AD 300), three miles east; Killycluggin Stone (original in Cavan County Museum), four miles south-west; and Bellaheady Cairn, three miles south-west.
West of Cavan on Lough Oughterís shore is Killykeen Forest Park. The 600 acres lie in Cavanís drumlin country. Lakes and woodland characterize the landscape. Nature trails follow the lake shore. A wildlife sanctuary is in the park. Reached via a small causeway, Trinity Island is the site of the ruins of a 13th century cathedral and monastery. On another island in the lake is ruined Clough Oughter castle, a 13-14th century tower house. It is also located in the Marble Arch Geopark.
Four miles south-east of Cavan on the slopes of Slieve Glah Mountain is the site of prehistoric Banagher Grave Complex. Here are tombs, stone circles, and earth mounds dating from BC 2500-1500. The Cavan County Museum, in a 19th century building, is located in the town of Ballyjamesduff in the south-east of the county. In the extensive grounds are exhibitions on the heritage of Cavan county, prehistoric artefacts, and an AV presentation.
South-west of Ballyjamesduff lies Lough Sheelin. 14th century Crover Castle sits on its shores by the village of Mountnugent. The village is also home to the Carraig Craft Visitor Centre and Basketry Museum with an AV presentation, a craft shop, a coffee shop, and a tourist centre.
On the countyís eastern border is St Kilianís Heritage Centre in the town of Mullagh. There is an exhibition and AV program on local heritage. Past Mullagh Lake is the Lakeview Gardens, home to rare plants.
Kingscourtís Catholic church has good stained glass windows. The town was founded by landlords in 1762 and has a wide main street. Near the town at the Monaghan-Cavan border is the Dun na Ri Forest Park, 565 acres along the banks of the river Cabra. Attractions along the walks include a dramatic gorge, Cromwellís bridge, a waterfall, Tobar na Splinne holy well, an ice house, and a ruined castle. West of Kingscourt and four miles south of Bailieborough are the remains of a 15th century church, Moybolgue. Nearby at Relagh beg are the remains of a 12th century castle and church.
For opening times and full details of attractions see the Attractions section of our website.
Ballyhugh Arts and Cultural Centre
Ballyhugh on road to Ballyconnell
Tel. 0 49 952 6044
Belturbet Railway Visitor Centre
Belturbet, at the rail station
Tel. 0 49 952 2074
Web: Belturbet Station
Carraig Craft Visitor Centre and Basketry Museum
Tel. 0 49 854 0179
Cavan County Museum
Tel. 0 49 854 4070
Web: Cavan County Museum
Cavan Crystal Factory and Showroom
Cavan, on Dublin road
Tel. 0 49 433 1800
Web: Cavan Crystal Design
Drumlane Monastic site
Lifeforce Corn Mill
The Mill Rock, Cavan town centre
Tel. 0 49 62722
Marble Arch Geopark
Maudabawn Cultural Centre
Maudabawn, near Cootehill
Tel. 0 49 555 9504
Museum of the Master Saddler
Tel. 0 86 394 6467
Web: Museum of Master Saddler
St Fethlimidh Cathedral
Tel. 0 49 433 7168
St Kilianís Heritage Centre
Tel. 0 46 924 2433
On the R200 south-west of Swanlinbar
Turbet Island motte and bailey remains
Turbet Island, Belturbet
Wesleyan Chapel Arts
Cultural and Tourism Centre, Adelaide Row, Bailieborough
Tel. 0 42 966 6666
Cavan County Tourist Information Centre
Cavan Tourist Office
7 Farnham Street, Cavan Town
Tel. 0 49 433 1942
Official Website: Cavan Tourism
Photo of Marble Arch European Geopark © by Barbara Ballard
Other photos courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland as follows:
Inishmuck Lough, Belturbet, Belturbet town bridge over River Erne, Lough Oughter, Lough Oughter castle by Adam Simpson; Cuilcagh mountainside by Gareth Buchanan; Drumlane monastic site, Drumlane monastic site graves by Oliver Dixon; Cathedral of SS Patrick and Felim by Peter Gerken; Cootehill by Jonathan Billinger; Banagher countryside by Kenneth Allen; Lough Sheelin, Mullagh church by Kieran Campbell; Kingscourt main street by Eric Jones; Dun na Ri Forest Park tree by JP
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