Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Cuilcagh Mountains, the remote western stretch of the county straddles the border with the North. Few buses serve this isolated fragment of the county. The express Donegal–Dublin buses pass through Ballyconnell, Bawnboy and Swanlinbar four times daily.
Heading 7km north from Cavan along the N3 you'll pass the village of Butlersbridge. Set on the banks of the River Annalee, it's ideal for a riverside picnic. Alternatively, pop into the Derragarra Inn, a delightful ivy-covered pub with a wood-beamed interior, beer garden overlooking the river and St Aidan Church across the way.
Ballyjamesduff & Around
A sleepy market town, Ballyjamesduff was the one-time home of the Earl of Fife, James Duff, an early Plantation landlord. His descendant, Sir James Duff, commanded English troops during the suppression of the 1798 Rebellion. Nearby Lough Sheelin is famed for its trout fishing; it's a scenic place for walking year-round. You'll need your own wheels to explore.
Blacklion & Around
This remote corner of the county is traversed by the Cavan Way. The little village of Blacklion lies less than 50m from the River Belcoo, marking the border with County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Dedicated foodies make the pilgrimage to the village to MacNean House & Restaurant. Buses are limited at best so you really need your own wheels.
Lough Oughter & Killykeen Forest Park
Rod-wielding anglers congregate at Lough Oughter, which splatters across the map like spilt steely grey ink. Fishing aside, the wildlife-rich lough is appealing for naturalists, walkers and anyone wanting to vanish into a landscape of shimmering waters and cathedral-like aisles of trees.
Just 4km north of Butlersbridge on the N54, the lovely little village of Cloverhill is best known for its award-winning restaurant housed in an 1884 former post office, the Olde Post Inn. Inspired local chef Gearoid Lynch's contemporary cuisine is based on traditional ingredients such as monkfish, salmon, duck and lamb.
Many towns in the county's east, such as handsome Virginia, were laid out as 17th-century Plantation estates. Sprawling 29km northeast of Virginia (2km east of Kingscourt), the 225-hectare Dún an Rí Forest Park has colour-coded forest walks (all less than 4km long), with picnic places and a wishing well. Look out for mink and otters along the river.
Cuilcagh Mountain Park
The border between the Republic and Northern Ireland runs along the ridge of Cuilcagh Mountain, the distinctive table-top summit of Cuilcagh Mountain Park, the world's first cross-border Geopark. Its lower slopes are important protected peatland habitats, while the upper slopes have dramatic sweeping cliffs.