County Cavan is perfectly nestled in between County Louth and County Sligo and it also shares some of its borders with Enniskillen. The county is known for its picturesque landscapes, numerous lakes, rolling green hills, and mature forest lands.
In this article, we have provided a traveller’s guide for things to do in Cavan. Whether you want to retreat into the rural idyllic settings or explore the traditional music scene that the county is so renowned for, you can find it here in County Cavan.
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What is Cavan famous for?
County Cavan is famous for being the source of the River Shannon, which is the longest river that runs throughout Ireland. The Shannon Pot is a large pool of water, where the river begins and the location is steeped in rich Celtic mythology.
Legends say that Síonnan, a grandchild of Lir, the Celtic God of the Sea, came to the Shannon Pot in search of Fintan, the great Salmon of Wisdom. However, her presence apparently angered the salmon and the waters rose to drown the maiden – whoever said Celtic mythology had happy endings?
Things to do in Cavan Ireland
You can delve right into the rich heritage of Ireland and visit the locations that inspired the many tales of Celtic mythology. There are many things to do in Cavan, from visiting natural attractions to exploring local museums and soaking up the culture of traditional music, check out what do to in Cavan below:
Castle Saunderson is a historic site located near Belturbet in County Cavan, Ireland. The current structure, built in the early 19th century, stands on the site of a previous castle that dates back to the 17th century.
The Saunderson family, who built and resided in the castle, were prominent local figures. The most notable among them was Edward James Saunderson, a leading Unionist politician in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Unfortunately, the castle fell into disrepair after the Saunderson family sold the estate, it was gutted by a fire in 1990 and remained in a derelict state for many years. However, in recent years, Castle Saunderson has seen a revival as part of a major Scouting redevelopment project. The Castle was officially opened in 2012 and now provides indoor accommodation and camping facilities for Scout and Guide groups.
Cavan Burren Park
This prehistoric park is a great place to explore ancient tombs, fantastic geological features, and stunning viewpoints. It is located in the townland of Blacklion in County Cavan and forms part of the larger Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.
The park is known for its rich archaeological and historical heritage. It houses a number of significant ancient monuments, including megalithic tombs (burial sites from the Neolithic or New Stone Age period), stone walls, hut sites, and ancient field systems. These remnants provide a fascinating insight into the lives of the area’s earliest inhabitants.
There are many walking trails in Cavan Burren Park, each suitable for different levels of ability and fitness. Whatever hiking trail you decide to take, you’ll soon reap the rewards of panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, including Cuilcagh Mountain and Lough MacNean.
The park also has a visitor centre, which provides information about the site’s history, archaeology, geology, flora, and fauna. Cavan Burren Park is an excellent place to visit for anyone interested in history, archaeology, geology, or simply enjoying the beauty of the Irish landscape.
Listen to traditional music
County Cavan, like much of Ireland, has a rich tradition of music, and you can find live traditional Irish music in various venues around the county, including:
- Blessings Bar
- The Imperial Bar
- The Farnham Arms Hotel
- The Cross Lounge
All of which are located in Cavan Town.
Things to do in Cavan for families
County Cavan is a brilliant spot to bring the family along for a trip, from exploring the rural landscapes and mythical forests to building your very own bear to take home. Check out the range of things to do in Cavan for families below.
Bear Essentials Teddy Bear Workshop
Bear Essentials is home to the largest collection of teddy bears in Ireland. Here, your little ones can create their very own teddy bear, which will make for a very special and tangible memory. The store also supplies collectable and limited edition bears and is a unique experience that’s unlike anywhere else.
Dun a Ri Forest Park
Dun a Ri Forest Park is located near Kingscourt and spans an area of over 565 acres, it’s one of the most scenic and tranquil forest parks in the country. There are a number of walking trails through the forested area that are rich in wildlife and follow along the banks of the River Cabra.
Dun a Ri Forest Park also boasts a collection of charming stone bridges and a dramatic waterfall in addition to the historic attractions of Sarah’s Well and an Ice House – which was used in the 16th century to store ice, long before freezers were invented. The family will love exploring the forest and the many hidden gems throughout the park.
“Dun a Ri” translates to “Fort of the King”, and the park is steeped in rich history and folklore. It is said to have been the site of many ancient battles and is closely associated with the legendary hero Cuchulainn, who supposedly camped at this forest park to defend Ulster against the forces of Maeve.
Bring your family along to visit this large and beautiful lake that is located in the northern midlands of Ireland, bordering County Westmeath, County Meath, and County Cavan. The lake spans over 20 square kilometres and is part of the Upper Shannon catchment.
Lough Sheelin is also known for its trout fishing, attracting anglers from all around the world. Boat rental is available if you want to explore the lake or try your hand at a fishing venture.
The fishing season typically runs from March to October, with the best months for fly fishing usually being May and June.
The lake is also rich in history and folklore. On the lake’s eastern shore, you’ll find the ruins of Crover Castle, and on Church Island, you’ll find the remains of a 12th-century church. The lake and its surroundings are steeped in legends and tales, including stories of a mythical water creature known as the Dobhar-chú.
Unusual things to do in Cavan
County Cavan is full of hidden surprises, and there are a lot of unusual things you can get up to to make your experience all the more memorable, check them out below:
County Cavan is known for its crystal products, with Cavan Crystal being one of the old-established manufacturers in Ireland, creating beautifully crafted pieces.
If you want to see the range of crystal products, you can visit the Cavan Crystal Hotel, which is the home of Cavan Crystal. They have a showroom where you can browse and buy a wide selection of their products, including vases, bowls, glasses, and jewellery. You’ll find crystal pieces in both contemporary and traditional designs, all showcasing the high-quality workmanship that Cavan Crystal is known for.
Cavan County Museum
This Cavan County Museum in Ballyjamesduff has exhibitions covering the history of Cavan from prehistoric times right through the Middle Ages and the 20th century.
The museum also includes a detailed exhibit on the Great Famine, paying homage to the hardships of Irish people at that time. It is one of the more unusual things to do in Cvaan, but definitely worth the visit.
Marble Arch Caves
Although the caves themselves are primarily in County Fermanagh, much of the geopark extends into County Cavan. It’s a UNESCO site featuring a range of mystical caves that you can explore via guided tours.
The Marble Arch Caves are a remarkable system of natural limestone caves renowned for their intricate network of subterranean rivers, waterfalls, winding passages and lofty chambers.
The caves were formed over millions of years by the slow action of water dissolving the limestone rock. Today, they offer an enchanting glimpse into a fascinating, hidden world beneath the surface of the Earth.
Explore things to do in Cavan
Whatever you decide to get up to in County Cavan, it’s sure to be a time filled with fun experiences and adventures. Interested in seeing more of Ireland, if so, check out: Things to do in Antrim | Things to do in Derry | Things to do in Armagh | Things to do in County Down | Things to do in Donegal | Things to do in Leitrim Ireland | Things to do in Sligo | Things to do in Fermanagh | Things to do in Louth.
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