Covering an area of approximately 746 square miles, County Cavan is a hidden gem in the province of Ulster and belongs to the North and West regions. Cavan County Council is the local authority for the county, which had a population of 76,176 as of the 2016 census.
The county is surrounded by counties Leitrim, Meath Fermanagh, Monaghan, Westmeath and Longford. Known for its multitude of lakes and waterways, Cavan is the source of the River Shannon known as the 'Shannon Pot'.
The main towns and villages are Cavan itself, Cootehill, Kingscourt, Ballyjamesduff, Bailieborough, Virginia and Belturbet. There are many different ancient sites scattered throughout the countryside that are a must-visit for history buffs!
Known for its wonderful scenery with scenic nature walks, rich history and cultural heritage, Cavan offers tourists a wide variety of things to see and do.
Here are some of the best things to do in County Cavan:
1. Experience what life was like in a trench during the First World War at County Cavan Museum
Discover County Cavan's fascinating past at the County Cavan Museum in Ballyjamesduff. Many different objects from the Stone Age to the 20th century are on display in the museum.
The museum, which has objects spanning over 6,000 years, is dedicated to collecting, preserving and showcasing the natural heritage and culture of County Cavan. The museum houses a medieval dugout boat and a folk exhibition showing life between the 19th and 20th centuries.
The museum has opened new exhibition spaces on other interesting subjects such as the great famine, and has also started providing exhibition spaces that host regular art exhibitions for artists from near and far!
In her Google reviews, Beata wrote: "The museum presents a great piece of Irish history." Here we can see how bravely the Irish soldiers fought and you can see various objects and costumes that have accompanied the people for centuries. The building is surrounded by a garden. Every piece of the museum takes us back in time.
2. Lace up your hiking boots for a day of adventure in Cavan Burren Park
Cavan Burren Park in the Burren, Blacklion, County Cavan opened to the public in 2014, but its history dates back 340 million years, when the entire country was hidden under a shallow tropical ocean during the Carboniferous Period.
Today there are five different hiking trails to explore and there is also an information center on site. On your journey you will encounter ancient dolmens, stone circles and more than 80 other archaeological sites.
En route, surrounded by nature, you can enjoy magnificent views of Cuilcagh Mountain and Lough MacNean.
On Google Reviews, Samantha wrote, "Visited Cavan Burren Park yesterday as part of the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark Gourmet Tour." What a nice day! The Burren is amazing. The scenery is stunning and the guide Danny was so knowledgeable and told us old folk stories. Definitely a must see and I would recommend everyone to visit!
3. The natural landscape of Killykeen Forest Park is beautiful
Killykeen Forest Park is a beautiful park on the shores of Lough Oughter in County Cavan. The forest stretches over 240 hectares and is a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Forests, stunning lakes and winding hiking trails contribute to a peaceful atmosphere that all visitors will enjoy.
Top park activities include:
- 4 marked nature trails
- Cycle paths for families
- watching birds
In her Google reviews, Samantha wrote: “Beautiful, peaceful and calm environment.” With bike paths and walks on the lake and in the forest. Cavan Adventure Center offers bike and canoe hire at weekends. There's even Java Joe's mobile coffee truck selling drinks and snacks!
4. Clough Oughter Castle is a great piece of Irish history
Lough Oughter in Cavan is the ideal area for an outdoor family adventure. Hire a kayak and cruise the calm waters of Lough Oughter to reach the island's 13th century castle. This place is perfect for the historian, adventurer and nature lover in all of us.
Historians have dated the construction of the castle to the 13th century, when the site fell under Anglo-Norman control after the invasion of the country. The castle was badly damaged in 1653 by cannon fire against soldiers using the landmark as a fort during Cromwellian times.
In 1987 the castle was renovated to make it safe for the public! The interior is not open to the public, but visitors can take a walk around the impressive exterior of the castle!
In her Google reviews, Sophie wrote: “This is a stunning gem of history in a picturesque setting, which is without a doubt worth the trip, whether setting foot on Tower's Isle or viewing it from afar.
5. St Fethlimidh's Cathedral is a beautiful chapel
St Fethlimidh's Cathedral is a 19th-century church in the parish of Kilmore, in the wooded Drumlin Hills, south-west of Cavan city, and incorporates elements of earlier medieval structures.
A combination of Gothic style and neoclassical architectural design, the cathedral has some impressive features, including stained glass windows, a large pipe organ and an impressive carved oak pulpit.
Many different ornate tombstones can be seen in the cemetery grounds. Today the active cathedral is a place of great religious and cultural importance for the locals.
In her Google reviews, Jocelyne wrote, "Great place." It's worth going there.
6. Kingspan Breffni hosts Cavan GAA
Kingspan Breffni is a Gaelic Athletic Association stadium in Creighan, County Cavan, which hosts Gaelic football, hurling and camogie. The arena has a total capacity of approximately 25,030 seats and 5,030 seats.
The stadium originally opened in 1925 and has seen many development projects and improvements over the decades. The stadium is now equipped with modern amenities such as a covered stand, floodlights and a large artificial turf field for training.
The arena plays an important role in promoting Gaelic sport and culture in the county. Be sure to get a ticket for the Ulster Senior Football Championship match, which hosts matches for an authentic Irish sporting event.
In Google reviews, Padraic wrote: “A nice stadium really great to watch a game. Just bring a nice coat because the weather can change at any moment and you could freeze your butt off.” All in all a very nice ground for a small town like Cavan and well worth a visit even when there isn't a game on.
7. Meet people from the local community at Cottage Market Cavan
Cottage Market Cavan is a Cavan based community business providing a supportive route to market for small farmers, food producers, artisans, artists and community groups.
The market works with 22 local food producers and 45-50 stall vendors selling products from organic vegetables, eggs, cheese, sourdough bread, organic artisan meats and more.
Cottage Market hosts seasonal markets with different themes and stalls for everyone!
On Google Reviews, Lynne wrote: "We visited Dineyard by the Cottage Market Cavan on Sunday 10th April." It was a great first event with our vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free "Into the Wild" trailer. Imelda and co have created something very special in Cavan, where food producers, farmers and customers can meet and experience lots of interesting things in a wonderfully relaxed, family atmosphere. A truly wonderful day. I'm already looking forward to the next event.
8. Erica's Fairy Forest is a magical place for children
This angelic fairy forest is dedicated to the memory of Erica Ní Draighneain, who tragically died in 2016 from a rare form of cancer. It was created by her loving parents, Ciarán and Natasha, to honor Erica's memory and her steadfast belief in fairies and magical lands.
There is a wide range of handmade fairy houses in the park, each with its own story and design. The forest is full of colorful plants and flowers, creating a magical atmosphere for young children. Along the way, you'll notice charming details like tiny doors, windows and other surprises.
The site is a testament to the family love of a little girl who works every day to make sure her daughter's life is remembered and celebrated.
The park is open every day and admission is free!
In her Google reviews, Patricija wrote: "Magical experience for kids." Very nice park to walk with kids. Lots of fairy doors, houses and little fairy descriptions. Bathrooms and cafes too. Picnic tables by the river. Nice place to walk.
9. Take a kayak tour at Cavan Adventure Center
Established in 2008, Caravan Adventure Center is an outdoor adventure center in Killeshandra, County Cavan. You'll find a great mix of land and water activities to suit everyone.
Some of the best attractions to join include:
- biodiversity tour
- Bike tour
- Boat tour
- Daily boat rental
- Aufblasbarer Hindernisparcours
The center's instructors guide beginners in kayaking or canoeing for the first time. Historical and educational tours are also available, as well as summer camps, school trips and multi-day packages for individuals or groups.
In her Google reviews, Linda wrote: "Been here twice in two weeks, kids absolutely loved it." Nice family experience. I highly recommend it as a must see. The kids had just as much fun with the kayaks out front and playing in the water. Sean and staff were very helpful with lots of advice and options.
10. Enjoy the spooky festivities at the Virginia Pumpkin Festival
The Virginia Pumpkin Festival is an annual festival held in Virginia City, County Cavan from 2007 to 2019 and starting in 2021. Held every Halloween holiday weekend in late October, the festival celebrates the season of harvest and the mystical autumn atmosphere.
You can participate in a variety of pumpkin-themed activities and attractions that are accessible to all, including: Food and craft vendors, pumpkin-themed games, pumpkin carving contests, street performers, exhibitions, parades, and local live bands like Rhetofire and fireworks.
The festival has grown in popularity in recent years and the Virginia town welcomes tourists from all over Ireland and the UK. Many visitors enjoy participating in the pumpkin contest and trying to win cash prizes!
11. Tullydermot Falls is a beautiful location with great views
Tullydermot Falls is a picturesque waterfall in the shadow of Cuilcagh Mountain. The waterfall originates in the Claddagh River and flows east from its source on Cuilcagh Mountain to Swanlinbar.
The geopark is accessible via trails that offer visitors expected benefits of the falls. So make sure you have your phones and cameras with you. The trails are even wheelchair accessible as they start from an information station in the parking lot!
In Google reviews, Arun wrote: "A small waterfall with a great view." Water splashing and rock walking is a great way to enjoy nature. There is a small off street parking lot with a few park benches that are good for picnics. We stayed there for a week and it was empty and uncrowded. The perfect place to spend an hour or two.
12. Enjoy nature at Deerpark Forest Walk
Deerpark Forest Walk is a quiet parkland walking trail near Virginia, County Cavan. The park's river flows through the park and provides a beautiful backdrop for the various routes.
There are a total of three hiking trails in the forest. The Lough Ramor Loop is a total of 4.2 km and takes you along the river and shores of Lough Ramor, while the Heritage Trail is a total of 2.1 km and features built monuments and an enchanting forest full of beautiful vegetation and trees.
In Google reviews, Trac wrote: "A piece of heaven." Nice place to walk for fresh air and peace. Convenient parking around the forest and surrounding area. Close to town for extra amenities.
13. Ramor Theater is a center of creative activities
The Ramor Theater is located in Virginia, Co. Cavan, a stone's throw from Cavan town and less than an hour from Dublin. The theater opened in September 1999 and has become a central part of the cultural and artistic life of the county as it is the only professional performance venue in the area.
The theater offers a wide range of programs by international artists from all fields of art such as dance, film, musicals, theater productions and more. Emerging talent is also encouraged to express themselves in youth theater programs.
Some of the productions coming in 2023 are King, Don Baker Live, Marcus Magee & The Hollow Men, Dancing at Lunacy, John B. Keane's The Matchmaker and Harvest-A Tribute to Neil Young.
On Google Reviews, Angie wrote: "The Ramor Theater is just a beautiful, intimate venue that puts on great productions." It's a credit to the team who coordinate and work so hard to get people to enjoy multiple productions. They welcome everyone warmly and offer the opportunity to enjoy a nice cup of tea during the break. There is a wide and varied program. I want to encourage people to support this beautiful space.
14. Nightlife in Cavan
Nightlife in Cavan is more low-key than the well-known nightlife of bigger cities like Dublin and Cork, but that doesn't mean you won't have a fun night out on the town. A welcoming atmosphere and live music in traditional Irish bars make for a fun night out.
Some of the best Irish bars in Cavan include:
- Blessings Bar & Off License
- The Black Horse Inn
- Die Orchard Bar
- McGinnitys Bar & Lounge
- The Imperial Bar & Nightclub
- Die Cash-Bar
Andrea wrote about The Black Horse Inn in Google reviews. We were looking for a place to have dinner on our way home and found this lovely pub/restaurant. Nice atmosphere, delicious food and great Guinness, but the best part is the service. All guys love and know how to take care of customers. We felt really welcome. Thank you, we hope to be back there soon.
In summary, Cavan has so much to offer for every type of tourist, whether it's an ancient site, a 13th century castle, a nightlife spot in town, a stadium to watch Gaelic football or an outdoor adventure centre. a pumpkin feast or a beautiful waterfall!
Things to do in Cavan, Ireland - Video
Frequently asked questions about Cavan, Ireland
What are the top attractions to visit in Cavan?
We used Google Reviews to list some of the best tourist attractions during our visit to Cavan.
County Cavan Museum
The Cathedral of Saint Patrick and Saint Felim
Close to King Forest Park
Drumlane Abbey und Round Tower
Deerpark forest walk
Killykeen Forest Park
Cavan Burren Park
Where is the best place to eat in Cavan?
McNean House & Restaurant
Murph's Gastro Pub, Derragarra Inn, Cavan
Hard-boiled egg cafe
The Wishing Well Bar and Bistro
Restaurant St. Kyran's
Chapter One: Food and Life Cavan
Die Riverfront Bar & Restaurant
Oak Room Restaurant
What is the best area to stay in Cavan?
Agios Kyrans farmhouse
Cavan Crystal Hotel
Virginia Park Lodge
Erne River Lodge Cabin
Cambra Castle Hotel
Crover House Hotel & Golf Club
What is a cavan? known for;
Cavan is famous for its many lakes and the source of the River Shannon known as the 'Shannon Pot' located in West Cavan. The main towns are Cavan itself, Virginia, Ballyjamsduff, Bailyborough, Cootehill, Kingscourt and Belturbet. In 2016, County Cavan had a population of 76,092.
How big is the population? Cavan?
Photo for Cavan
Article reviewed by
This article has been reviewed bySian Murphy, MBA in Tourism Management and Marketing. If you think something in this article is inaccurate, please submit oneItem evaluation form, and we will thoroughly investigate any inaccuracies.
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