If you like to holiday near water, then definitely consider heading for Cavan in Ireland’s Lakelands Region because there’s plenty of the stuff here. Take your pick from Cavan’s fish-filled lakes, rivers, including the River Shannon, and canals – and when you’ve sampled its many water-based activities there’s plenty to do on land too. Try trekking on horseback, walking the valleys or enjoying a round of golf at Slieve Russell, one of the top courses in Ireland.
Cavan began its life as a tourist destination back in the 17th Century, when visitors flocked to the mineral spas of Swanlinbar, West Cavan, but its real success came with its linen industry. In 1841, nearly a quarter of a million people lived here, but the famine wiped out many and Cavan returned to its rural roots. Nowadays, Cavan is an up and coming destination – a big draw is the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. A Geopark, if you didn’t already know, is a site recognised by UNESCO as having an exceptional geological heritage and Cavan’s Geopark is a fine example with natural landscapes waterfalls, ruined abbeys, megalithic tombs, forests and caves as well as a full programme of events.
Cavan’s Top 10
10. If you’re after the ‘craic’ the Farnham Arms in Cavan town hosts weekly traditional music sessions. Get those dancing feet out.
5. St Kilian’s was a martyr to his cult and St Kilian’s Heritage Centre pays homage to the saint born in 640 AD.
9. Clough Oughter Castle has its own small island, dates back to the 13th Century and was ruled by the O’Reilly clan.
4. Cavan crystal is world class. Head to the Cavan Crystal Showroom and bag yourself some.
8. Burren Forest at Blacklion comprises a fascinating concentration of Neolithic, Bronze Age and medieval remains.
3. Ballyhugh Arts and Cultural Centre is dedicated to West Cavan’s rich cultural heritage with exhibitions and live shows.
7. Turbet Island Motte & Bailey sited on the River Erne offers scenic walking routes.
2. The Museum of the Master Saddler is where to see a 20s side saddle, a shire harness and a dizzying array of other horsey related objects.
6. The Gonzo Theatre Cavan has nothing to do with the Muppet, but promotes experimental theatre, comedy and music.
1. Cavan County Museum Pre-history to rural life in the 50s with costume displays and exhibitions.
Blacklion Fair Day Festival Weekend takes place in July, a highly popular Cavan event featuring live music and entertainment.
Why not try your luck with a rod and hook and head off for the Family Angling Weekend held annually in July at Killeshandra in Cavan.
The Festival of the Erne is a Cavan highlight, an event which takes place at Belturbet during July and August. This is one of the biggest river-based family festivals with boat races, competitions and traditional Irish music.
At the end of July the Angling come to Cavan – to Killeshandra to be precise. All Ireland Championships.
Belturbet Annual Fishing Festival is a popular July Cavan Event.
One to put in the diary is the Fleadh Cheoil nahEireann Festival which takes over Cavan Town during August, it’s largest music, dance and song based event now in its 61st year.
The Irish National Bog-Snorkelling Championships come to Cavan during September at Castleblayney. This really is a sport so go along and see.
The Mullagh Fair takes place in September in Cavan and is a re-enactment of bygone Fair Days. See the tallest man, puppets shows and mummers and that’s just for starters.
The Virginia Pumpkin Festival returns to Cavan during October when Virginia’s main street fills up with ‘Jack-o-Lanterns’ and children in fancy dress.
When to Go
· Cavan has a climate which is in line with the rest of Ireland. It’s often said that you get all four seasons at once during a day here, because days that start out well often turn out overcast and vice versa. The weather overall is moderate however, with few extremes of temperature throughout the year. Spring and summer are likely to have the sunniest days, with drier conditions.
· Cavan rarely sees summer temperatures above 23°C or thereabouts – during a particularly hot spell temps of 30°C and above are possible however. During the coldest months of January and December temperatures dip to between 3 and 4°C with ground frosts a real possibility.
· Cavan is locate to the north west which means it typically rains at least half the year, which means bring an umbrella and raincoat and hope for the best.
· Cavan is located on the N3 Dublin – Donegal Road, and is one of the central points between the two. The Ferry Port in Dublin is less than two hours away, as is Dun Laoghaire and Belfast. Dublin town centre is around 75 miles from Cavan and Belfast around 100.
· Virginia and Cavan town are linked to Dublin and Donegal by an hourly bus service, and Cavan has buses running regularly to Belfast too. There is also a daily service between Dublin Airport and Cavan Town. Bus Eireann is the main bus operator.
· The nearest international airport to Cavan is Dublin airport which has flights to a range of domestic and world flights.
Cavan General Information
As the heart of Ireland’s Lake District, County Cavan is home to spectacular natural beauty and a handsome ensemble of towns and villages. Alternatively known as Breffny, the county’s main seat and capital is Cavan.
While a town of less than 10,000 people, Cavan is nonetheless a lively destination about equidistant (130 km or so) from both Belfast and Dublin. The city of Galway is a further three hours away. Cavan borders Northern Ireland and shares the Lake District tag with the adjacent county of Fermanagh. Famous for Cavan Crystal and some of the best restaurants and pubs in the country, the town is rife with folksy charm and has a superb array of comfortable accommodations. Close to 30,000 people live within a 15 km radius of Cavan and as a result, the town is a diminutive hive of activity. A wonderful arts and culture scene comes alive for the annual County Cavan Drama Festival and NYAH Traditional Arts Festival in March and April, while Heritage Week promotes the county’s vital history every August. Specific points of interest to include on your Cavan itinerary range from the elegant Cathedral of Saints Patrick and Felim to dramatic Kilmore Cathedral. The Belturbet Diamond, Courthouse and Streetscape is a foremost architectural conservation area in the county, in addition to Main Street, Virginia and Cootehill Lower Market Street.
Attraction & Activities
- Cathedral of Saints Patrick and Felim
- Kilmore Cathedral
- Belturbet Diamond, Courthouse and Streetscape
- The Lawn Terrace, Belturbet
- Redhills Village
- County Cavan Drama Festival
- Virginia Pumpkin Festival
- Cootehill Lower Market Street
- Cavan Crystal
- Cuilcagh Mountains
Restaurant & Nightlife
- The Oak Room Restaurant & Bistro
- The Side Door
- Botanica Bar & Restaurant
- The Sajan
- Hotel Kilmore Restaurant
- McMahon’s Cafe Bar
- The Orchard
- The Widows Bar
- Angler’s Rest
- The Whistle Stop
Cavan has a temperate maritime climate, with moderate to heavy rainfall and temperatures between 2°C and 17°C for the year.
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