This introduces a new series of blogs with ideas of things to see and do in Ireland county by county. Rather than doing an alphabetical listing I thought I would start with the county where Tony and I made our home ten years ago, County Cavan. Over the years we have discovered that there are plenty of things to see and do in County Cavan but these are seven favourites.
1) The Lough MacNean Park, Blacklion is an enhanced lay by and lakeside picnic area a kilometre outside the border village along the N16. This is a particularly nice spot of those touring Ireland to schedule a rest stop. There is outdoor sculpture, a play park for children, swans on the lake and wondrous views of a crannog in the middle of Lough MacNean. Despite being a long a main national road there is a peacefulness that even traffic cannot distract.
2) The Cavan Burren is also signposted from Blacklion and offers over 200 acres of woodland walking with megalithic tombs, rock art and other Bronze and Iron Age archaeological remains to view. Part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark this limestone landscape has beautiful ‘glacial erratics’, dry river valleys and much more.
3) Visit the Source of the River Shannon taking the R206 between Blacklion and Glangevlin you will find the turn off for the Shannon Pot, which marks the point where the underground rivers that feed the longest river in Ireland surfaces. The Shannon Pot is a quiet, contemplative spot. Cattle low, a solitary fairy tree can be seen in adjacent fields. If you are lucky enough to visit in June the meadow beside the car park is full of rare and beautiful species, cowslips and wild orchids just to name two of the wildflowers growing in this unspoilt landscape.
4) The All Ireland Fleadh will be held in Cavan this August for ten days between 10th and 20th August. Besides the wonderful traditional music sessions, concerts and workshops there will be many more events offering plenty to see and do in Ireland during this annual event.
5) Belturbet is an excellent base for exploring the Shannon Erne Waterway. This former garrison town with a 600 year history offers canal side walks as well as all the usual town amenities. More importantly it is part of the Shannon Erne Cruise route. You can hire a narrowboat or cruiser and have a leisurely vacation tooling along the Shannon and Erne waterways system that runs from Ballinamore in County Leitrim right up to Enniskillen in Northern Ireland.
6) Everyone finds castles very romantic. How about going to see a castle that even Cromwell could only dent. Set on an island Castle Oughter is set within one of Ireland’s greatest geological wonders, the largest ribbed moraine in the world. This accounts for the crenulated lake landscape that stretches between Belturbet and Killeshandra. Besides seeing romantic castles this area is great for outdoor activities like fishing and canoeing.
7) Travelling from the N87 there is a turn off for the R200 towards Glangevlin. This is a wonder to behold on a clear day. From this direction heading south toward Glangevlin and Dowra you climb up to moorland and cross the spectacular Bellavally Gap. On a bright day you will see spectacular mountain range spread before you. To the west is Slieve Anieran where the ancestral fairy people the Tuatha de Danaan landed when they first arrived in Erin.In the middle is Ben Croy and to the east is Slievenakilla and it’s distinctive sphinx like terminus. The Bellavally Gap was created, according to myth, by the giant green cow that belonged to the Tuatha de Danaan’s smith Govannon. Like Paul Bunyan’s ox Babe this Bo Glas must have been built on majestic lines. You pass Maguire’s Chair, which is said to be the convention seat for the Maguire Clan. There is a brief turn down a lane to Tullydermot Falls, a stunning waterfall that is connected with the mythological flight of Diarmuid and Grainne.
Having not even covered half the county I’ve already run out of space listing all the things to see and do in Ireland. I’m sure this taster will lure you to explore the countryside of west Cavan more thoroughly.
We have megaliths and meadowland, mountains and lakes, castles and canals, dolmens and Druid’s Chairs. There is hiking, fishing, canoeing, natural history safaris and wildlife watches. This is truly a place where the mythic and modern Ireland rub shoulders. West Cavan offers the tourist a wealth of things to see and do in Ireland.
Bee Smith created Irish Blessings Tours to serve travelers to Ireland who want the unique and inspirational packages for their group’s desires and needs. Bee seeks the source to manifest your dream Irish vacation according to your budget and time scale. She has a special interest in Fairy folklore, Celtic Spirituality and the Natural Heritage of northwestern Ireland and Northern Ireland. In 2011 Bee became one of the first trained tour guides that act at ambassadors for the UNESCO designated Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. Send her your dreams for your Ireland vacation package to firstname.lastname@example.org.