Magical Ireland: Welcome To Clough Oughter (A Castle On A Man-Made Island In Cavan)

A castle on a man-made island in Cavan

clough oughter castle
Photo by Tom Archer via Tourism Ireland

If you had a nosey at our guide to the best things to do in Cavan, you’ll know that there’s lots more to this county than meets the eye.

One of the ‘hidden gems’ that Cavan is home to is the fairytale-like Clough Oughter Castle, which sits in the middle of the Lough Oughter network of waterways.

Similar to McDermott’s Castle in Roscommon, this place looks like something whipped straight from a Walt Disney movie.

In the guide below, you’ll find out about its history, how to reach it and what there is to do nearby.

About Clough Oughter Castle

clough oughter castle cavan
Photo by Tom Archer via Tourism Ireland

You’ll find the fairytale-like Clough Oughter Castle in the Marble Arch Geopark, next to the picturesque Killykeen Forest Park.

The island upon which Clough Oughter sits (known as a Crannog) was made by man. It’s incredible to think of the engineering that this build took to accomplish.

Over the years, the castle fell under the control of many different clans. Towards the end of the 12th century, the castle was in the grasps of the O’Rourkes.

Later (the exact date is unknown), it fell into the hands of William Gorm de Lacy. Then, in 1233, the O’Reilly clan took hold of the area and completed the construction of the castle.

Then came the plantation of Ulster…

clough oughter castle
Photo by Tom Archer via Tourism Ireland

After the plantation of Ulster, Clough Oughter Castle was given to Hugh Culme. He held it until 1641, when Philip O’Reilly, leader of the rebel forces during the Rebellion of 1641,  seized control.

O’Reilly kept the castle for the decade that followed and mainly used it as a prison. Interestingly enough, the castle became the rebel’s last remaining stronghold during Cromwell’s era.

However, in March of 1653 Clough Oughter was hit by Cromwell’s canons. The castle stands today as it did then, a beautiful old ruin.

How to get to Clough Oughter


If you fancy seeing Clough Oughter Castle up close, you can head out on the water with the lads at Cavan Adventure Centre.

They offer a 3-hour kayak tour for around €35 that’ll take you out onto the lake and around the castle.

I know a couple of people that have done this tour over the years and each has mentioned how thick the walls are (they’re visible because of the canon bombardment that took place). 

If you’re looking for unique things to do in Ireland and you’re visiting Cavan, get yourself here for a nosey.

Make sure to visit Killykeen Forest Park after

killeshandra forest park cavan
Photo via

A bit of adventure on the water is perfectly paired with a ramble in Killykeen Forest Park.

The Forest wraps around the Lough Oughter network of lakes and boasts a number of trails that are perfect for a lazy Sunday stroll.

There are several easy-to-follow signposted walks that’ll take you on a ramble along the lakes shore and through the woods.

Get out. Stretch the legs. And gulp down that fresh forest air.

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!


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