Howaya! In the guide below, you’ll find a load of worthwhile things to do in Cavan at any time of the year.
From kayaking and castles to live music and cosy pubs, we’ve packed in the best that Cavan has to offer.
Known for it’s reputed 365 lakes, the ‘Other Burren‘ and, yes, the Tully Twins from Gogglebox, Cavan boasts a wealth of depth and character, along with an ample number of adventure opportunities.
Things to do in Cavan (that are worth doing)
There’s no filler in the guide below.
We’ve included the best places to visit in Cavan. Places that have come recommended by locals and tourists alike.
Ready to rock? Let’s dive in!
1 – Spend a morning kayaking around the fairytale-like Clough Oughter Castle
The fairytale-like Clough Oughter Castle is part of the Marble Arch Geopark and is situated next to the picturesque Killykeen Forest Park (next on our list).
The castle itself sits on a what’s known as a Crannog – a man-made island – and is only accessible by boat, canoe or kayak.
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.
2 – And then head for a ramble in the only goooorgeous Killykeen Forest Park
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.
3 – Treat yourself to a bitta afternoon tea in Cabra Castle
If you fancy entering treat-yoself mode, afternoon tea in Cabra Castle is a must.
This 18th-century castle was once part of the 1,000-acre demesne of Dun Na Rí National Forest Park (we’ll be visiting there later in the guide).
Now, it’s nestled on 100 acres of finely manicured gardens and parklands.
Afternoon tea here will set you back a fairly reasonable €20 per person.
4 – Explore the ‘Other Burren‘ – The Cavan Burren Park (one of the most overlooked things to do in Cavan)
If you’re thinking, ‘Eh, the Burren is in CLARE! What are you on about?!’ then chill your kacks for a minute.
There is in fact a Burren in Cavan and it’s often missed by people visiting Ireland.
While the Cavan Burren Park only opened to the public back in May 2014, the area itself is a little older.
340 million plus years older…
Fancy checking it out? Well, there’s over 10km of walking trails in the park that’ll take you past some of the finest prehistoric features in Ireland.
5 – Nurse a post-adventure tipple in the 107-year old Gartlan’s pub
Good God I love thatch pubs.
You’ll find Gartlan’s pub in Kingscourt, where it has been present since the previous owner, George Gartlan, bought it in 1911.
Those that visit this little pub on a Thursday and Sunday night will be treated to a clatter of live music (pints are optional).
An excellent old traditional pub that has no TV or WiFi. Bliss.
6 – Go off in search of the source of the Shannon (and the tale behind its origin)
The Shannon Pot is where the magnificent Shannon River begins.
Now, there’s a lovely bit of folklore behind how the Shannon Pot started. According to legend, it’s linked to the legendary Finn MacCool and the Fianna – the ancient warriors of Irish mythology.
The story goes that Síonnan, the daughter of Lodan, came to the Shannon Pot to search for the great Salmon of Wisdom.
When the great salmon saw her, it was furious. So much so that it caused the pool to overflow.
As the water surged, Síonnan became trapped and eventually drowned.
Thus, the River Shannon was created and it still bears Síonnan’s name today.
7 – Kick-back and listen to the music of the water crash at Tullydermot Falls
This is one of Cavan’s many hidden gems.
Tullydermot Falls is a spectacular waterfall found in the Cuilcaigh Mountains, not far from the village of Swanlinbar in north-west Cavan.
The waterfall is handy enough to access by foot (and wheelchair) thanks to a trail that goes from the information station at the nearby car park.
A grand aul spot to clear the head as the music from the water crashing sounds all around you.
8 – Get your chill on at Farnham Estate Spa
Although I wouldn’t usually be one for visiting spas, I spent a night at Farnham recently.
It. Was. Deadly!
You can do all the usual spa stuff here but the big attraction, for me anyway, was the outdoor heated pool.
There’s something special about being submerged in warm water while your head gets bashed by the icy wind.
You can also enjoy a fine view from the water. Expect fields. And cows. Lots of cows.
9 – Head for a ramble in Dún na Rí Forest Park
One of the best Sunday’s I’ve had in a long time was spent in Dún na Rí Forest Park.
We’d spent the previous night in a hotel not far from it and, up until that day, had never heard of the place.
On the day that we visited, the car park was packed, but we still felt like we had the run of the place. A mighty spot to spend a morning or afternoon.
Some of the more interesting features that you’ll encounter during your ramble are the Toba na Splinne Holy Well, Cromwell’s Bridge, the ruins of Fleming’s Castle and Sarah’s Well.
10 – Cavan County Museum
I’m sure you’re looking at the picture above and thinking, ‘What in the name of f**k is that?!‘
Bear with me.
Welcome to Cavan County Museum.
Home to everything from World War One trench experiences (pictured above) and Famine exhibitions to medieval artefacts and an entire section dedicated to the history of the GAA, Cavan County Museum is has something to tickle every fancy.
The reviews online are top dollar and admission is pretty reasonable at €6 for an adult and €14 for a family ticket (two adults and two kids).
11 – Get a big aul feed into ye (yes, ye!) at the Oak Room
A friend of mine was here about three weeks ago and she hasn’t shut up about the place since.
I had a poke around online and the reviews are excellent, so here we are.
The Oak Room serves ‘modern Irish cuisine’ (if, like me, you’ve no idea what that is, you’ll have to throw your eyes over the menu…)
A solid place for a feed after a day on the lakes.
12 – Explore the magnificent Marble Arch Caves
You may be scratching your head at this one. YES, we did include the Marble Arch Caves in our guide to Fermanagh.
The caves are part of the Marble Arch Geopark.
This is a borderless Park which is located within both Cavan and Fermanagh and, interestingly enough, is the first ever cross border Geopark (it’s shared jointly between the Fermanagh county Council in Northern Ireland, and with the Cavan County Council in the Republic of Ireland).
So, THAT’S why the caves have been popped in.
The Marble Arch Caves are a series of natural limestone caves found near the village of Florencecourt.
At around 11.5 kilometres in length, the caves form the longest known cave system in Northern Ireland.
13 – Take the Castle Trail at Saunderson Demesne
The Castle Trail at Saunderson Demesne is located at the heart of the UNESCO Geopark.
This relatively new attraction (it opened to the public in 2017) also crosses over with the Cavan Burren Park and Cavan County Museum, so it’s easy to get the most out of your day at the Geopark by learning more about local lore.
The castle itself has a turbulent and bloody history.
The original castle was acquired by the Saunderson family during the Ulster plantation.
Over the years it was:
- Burned (1689)
- The site of mass murder (in 1689 400 of King James’s soldiers were ambushed here, with many driven toward the river Finn and drowned)
- Destroyed by fire, again (1990)
Well worthing visiting for a ramble.
14 – Walk the Cavan Way in a day… hey
Fancy lashing on your hiking boots and heading off on a long walk? Then the Cavan Way is exactly what the doctor ordered.
The Cavan Way is a long-distance walking trail that stretches around 22 kilometres long.
The walk, which kicks off in Blacklion and ends in Dowra, can be completed over the course of a day.
After beginning your walk in Blacklion, the trail will take you up into the hills above the village, offering views out over Upper and Lower Lough MacNean.
You’ll then pass along the outskirts of The Cavan Burren and past the Giant’s Grave (an ancient passage tomb) before making your descent and passing the Moneygashel crossroads.
A lovely long walk for a warm summers day.
What things to do in Cavan have we missed?
The guides on this site rarely sit still.
They grow based on feedback and recommendations from readers and locals that visit and comment.
Have something to recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.