Introducing County Cavan
Cavan is paradise for boaters, anglers, walkers, cyclists and artists. Known as the 'Lake Country', there's supposedly a lake for every day of the year, and the county is famed for its course fishing. Between the steely grey waters is a gentle landscape of meandering streams, bogs and drumlins. Cavan has some spectacular walking trails through the wild Cuilcagh Mountains, which are the source of the 300km River Shannon. The county's quiet, rural charm is best appreciated from the water, especially the tranquil Shannon–Erne Waterway.
The area has an intricate history. Magh Sleacht, a plain near the border village of Ballyconnell, was an important Druidic centre in the 5th century when St Patrick was busy converting the pagan Irish to Christianity, and the area is still littered with tombs, standing stones and stone circles from this time. The Gaelic O'Reilly clan ruled until the 16th century, when they joined the other Ulster lords to fight the Nine Years' War (1594–1603) against the English and were defeated. As part of the Ulster Plantation, Cavan was divided among English and Scottish settlers. In the 1640s, taking advantage of England's troubles, Owen Roe O'Neill led a rebellion against the settlers. O'Neill died in 1649 of suspected poisoning in Clough Oughter Castle near Cavan. After the War of Independence in 1922, the Ulster counties of Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal were incorporated into the Republic.
Cavan's lakes create a tangled knot of narrow, twisting roads – take your time and enjoy the views that appear unexpectedly around each bend.