Killykeen Forest Park

Counties Meath, Louth, Cavan & Monaghan

Sprawling over 240 hectares, Killykeen Forest Park, 12km northwest of Cavan, has various nature trails (from 1.5km to 5.8km) that lead you through the woods and along the shore of Lough Oughter, which splatters across the map like spilt steely grey ink. It's popular with anglers. Keep an eye out for stoats, badgers, foxes, grey squirrels and hedgehogs, as well as some amazing birdlife.

Many of the low overgrown islands in the lake were crannógs (fortified, artificial islands). The most spectacular is home to Clough Oughter Castle, a 13th-century circular tower perched on a tiny speck of land. It was used as a lonely prison, then as a stronghold by rebel leader Owen Roe O'Neill before being destroyed by Cromwell's army in 1653. The castle lies out of reach over the water; canoe trips run by the Cavan Adventure Centre head here. The forest trails provide wonderful views.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Counties Meath, Louth, Cavan & Monaghan attractions

1. Bell Tower

4.42 MILES

All that remains of the 13th-century Franciscan friary the town grew up around is an ancient bell tower, next to the grave of 17th-century rebel leader…

2. Crom Estate

11.66 MILES

Home to the largest area of natural woodland in Northern Ireland, the National Trust's beautiful Crom Estate is a haven for pine martens, bats and many…

3. Aughnacliffe Dolmen

12.24 MILES

Thought to date back 5000 years, this astonishing portal dolmen is one of the three biggest in Ireland, with a height of 2m and two capstones, one almost…

4. Cavan County Museum

14.51 MILES

Located inside a former convent, this museum's wide-ranging collection includes a huge array of 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century costumes and relics from the…

5. Florence Court

18.21 MILES

Set in lovely wooded grounds in the shadow of Cuilcagh Mountain, Florence Court, 12km southwest of Enniskillen, is famous for its rococo plasterwork and…

6. Sheelin Antique Irish Lace Shop

21.29 MILES

This lace shop also houses a small collection of Irish lace dating from 1850 to 1900. Lace-making was an important cottage industry in the region both…

7. Cuilcagh Mountain Park

22.04 MILES

Part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, Cuilcagh Mountain Park was established to restore and preserve the blanket bog – one of Ireland’s biggest –…

8. Marble Arch Caves

22.39 MILES

To the south of Lower Lough Erne lies a limestone plateau, where Fermanagh's abundant rainwater has carved out a network of subterranean caverns. The…