Translating from Irish as “The Hollow”, Cavan is a county town on the main route that links Dublin with Donegal. It was founded by the Lord of East Breifne in the early 14th century and flourished as a market town under the rule of Bearded Owen O’Reilly. Cavan is dominated by the 70-metre-tall spire of its cathedral and serves as a gateway to Lough Oughter’s recreational pursuits.
Things to do in Cavan
At the northern end of town is the Cathedral of Saints Patrick & Felim, an impressive Neoclassical landmark with a soaring spire that dates back to 1938. Designed by Ralph Byrne, it’s constructed from white granite, with four columns dominating its facade. Step inside to admire the stained glass windows by George Collie and Harry Clarke, as well as the sculptures by Albert Power.
Perched atop a small island in the middle of Lough Oughter are the medieval ruins of Cloughoughter Castle. It’s believed to date from the early 13th century and was owned by the O’Rourkes before coming into the hands of the Anglo-Norman de Lacy family. Now protected as a National Monument of Ireland, the castle is best viewed from the water.
Straddling Lough Oughter is Killykeen Forest Park, which encompasses a picturesque woodland of spruce, oak and beech. It’s traversed by a network of walking trails and is popular with anglers, while it also provides habitat for wintering birds. You can stretch your legs on the family-friendly Killykeen Forest Park Nature Trail or rent a canoe to explore from the water.
Getting around Cavan
Cavan is around 1.5 hours’ drive from Dublin and Dublin Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe, North America and the Middle East. Regular buses travel to Cavan and the town is small enough to explore on foot.