Cavan, the most southerly of the Ulster counties, is greatly diversified in surface. Its highest point is Cuilcagh Mountain (2,188 feet) in the mountainous projection of the county which reaches north-westwards between Counties Leitrim and Fermanagh. Ireland’s longest river, the Shannon, has its source on the southern slopes of Cuilcagh. Most of the county is undulating land, with low round hills and myriad lakes. The River Erne, rising in Lough Gowna and flowing northwards through the centre of the county, spreads itself in a maze of small sheets of water separated by promontories and islands of every shape and size. Many of the Cavan lakes are very beautiful and offer first-class coarse angling.


An Cabhan (The Hollow Place)

Pop. 3,322 (urban district).

Tourist information office: Farnham Street. Tel. (049) 31942.

Cavan, the county town, is in a pleasant district of low green hills. In ancient times it was the seat of the rulers of east Breifne, the O’Reillys. Their main residence was on Tullymongan Hill, on the outskirts of the town.

Of the Franciscan Friary founded in 1300 by Giolla Iosa O’Reilly, only the belfry tower remains. A plaque on the wall commemorates Owen Roe O’Neill, the victor of Benburg, who was buried in the chancel of the friary in 1649.

Things to do

There is golf (18), tennis, excellent angling for trout and coarse fish and a sports centre. Cavan Crystal produces 32 per cent lead crystal glass in the traditional mouth-blown and handcut fashion. Factory tours are available.

Around Cavan

Shantemon Hill, 3 miles (5 km) north-east, was the ancient inauguration place of the O’Reilly chiefs. About 3 miles (5 km) north-west is the fine demesne of Farnham House, and a few miles beyond on an island in Lough Oughter is Clough Oughter Castle, a thirteenth-century O’Reilly fortress. This castle remained in the possession of the O’Reillys until the plantation of Ulster in the early seventeenth century. On the outbreak of the Rising of 1641 it was seized by Colonel Myles O’Reilly. William Bedell, Protestant Bishop of Kilmore, was held prisoner here for a time (1641-1642). The castle has been in ruins since it was taken by the Cromwellians in 1653. At Butlersbridge on the Annalee River there is coarse fishing with boats for hire.

There is an interesting folk museum at Conrafean which is open to visitors and which has about 3,000 items depicting the rural life-style from the 1700s up to the present. It is styled the ‘Pighouse Collection’ after the original building in which it was housed.

At Kilmore, about 3 miles (5 km) west of Cavan, the Protestant cathedral has a Hiberno-Romanesque vestry door that was brought from the old monastery on Trinity Island in Lough Oughter. In the graveyard is the sculptured tomb of Bishop Bedell, the first translator of the Old Testament into Irish. On the west side of Lough Oughter is Killeshandra, almost surrounded by little lakes.

Four miles (6 km) north of here, at Kildallon lived the ancestors of Edgar Allan Poe. Killykeen Forest Park 8 miles (13 km) west of Cavan has 600 acres of woodlands with swimming, boating, fishing, nature trails and forest walks.

Beside the County Longford border 13 miles (21 km) south-west of Cavan is the little town of Gowna, beside beautiful Lough Gowna - source of the River Erne. Lough Gowna is a good coarse fishing lake.

 Activities in Cavan

Bike Rental
Bicycle Hire On Yer Bike Tours Cavan

Game Fishing
Laragh River

Golf Courses
County Cavan Golf Club


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