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.
Dublin–Donegal Bus Éireann services stop outside the post office.
Cavan's county town is a solidly workaday place with some handsome Georgian houses and a famous crystal showroom.
Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Cuilcagh Mountains, the remote northwestern edges of Cavan are some of its most scenic. However local transport is limited so you will need your own wheels to explore the region.
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. These days the town is best known as the home of the Cavan County Museum, located inside a superbly preserved former convent.
The pretty canal-side village of Ballyconnell is a popular angling centre and a bustling place in summer with visitors making their way along the Shannon–Erne Waterway, which wends its way through town.
Lough Oughter & Killykeen Forest Park
Rod-wielding anglers congregate at Lough Oughter, which splatters across the map like spilt steely grey ink. Coarse fishing aside, the wildlife-rich lough is similarly appealing for naturalists, walkers and anyone wanting to vanish into a landscape of shimmering waters and cathedral-like aisles of trees.
Blacklion & Around
Traversed by the Cavan Way, the area between Blacklion and Dowra has some extraordinary prehistoric monuments, including the remains of a cashel (stone-walled circular fort) and the ruins of several sweathouses, used mostly in the 19th century. Dedicated foodies make the pilgrimage here to one of the country's finest restaurants, MacNean House & Restaurant.
Many towns in the county's east, such as handsome Virginia, were laid out as 17th-century Plantation estates. While in the area, it's worth stopping at Kingscourt to visit St Mary's Catholic Church, with its superb 1940s stained-glass windows created by the famous Dublin stained-glass artist, the late Evie Hone.
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, an ivy-covered pub with a wood-beamed interior and riverside deck overlooking the lovely St Aidan Church across the way.
Just 4km north of Butlersbridge on the N54, the lovely little village of Cloverhill is best known for its award-winning restaurant, the Olde Post Inn. Overseen by award-winning local chef, Gearoid Lynch, the contemporary cuisine is based on traditional ingredients such as suckling pig, salmon, pigeon and lamb.
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.