Cavan’s Top 8 Route

Take your time to explore the fascinating, picturesque and unique landscapes that the Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark has to offer across west County Cavan. If you only have a few days to spend in this beautiful part of the country then do not panic because we have done the hard work for you and have chosen the 8 best sites that you must take time to visit.

From quaint villages with river walks, to a landscape that casts your imagination back to 340 million years ago, as well as sites with magical folklore and commanding views across lakes, castle ruins and scenic forests this tour has it all.

Cavan Burren Park   Photo Credit   Rachel Hume
Cloughoughter Castle
Shannon Pot
Lough MacNean water
Cornagee Viewpoint 1
Killykeen Boathouse
Castle Saunderson Castle

Recommended Route

1.Blacklion

Blacklion is a small, quaint village in County Cavan which is home to the award winning MacNean House and Restaurant owned by Neven Maguire.

The Cathal Buí Trail, which is in the village, is a 1km easy, circular route which takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

The Market House located in the centre of Blacklion is a Tourist and Information Centre, with a gift shop offering local souvenirs to purchase.

A warm welcome will greet you here, with friendly and informative Geopark Ambassadors on hand to help with all information in relation to local attractions and activities in the area.

2.Lough MacNean Amenity Area

Lough MacNean is a large freshwater lake divided into two parts. Lower Lough MacNean, the smaller eastern lake, is located in County Fermanagh whilst Upper Lough MacNean, the larger western lake, is split between Counties Fermanagh, Cavan and Leitrim.

On the strip of land between the two lakes are the villages of Belcoo and Blacklion, in the heart of the Geopark.

The lake itself is suitable for boat fishing for Pike as well as Trout, usually during the mayfly season.

Today the Lough MacNean Amenity Area boasts a wonderful playground, an adult gym facility, picnic area as well as a floating jetty.

3.Cornagee Viewpoint

Cornagee translates from Irish as ‘rounded windy hill’ and on many days of the year you can see why! Due to the elevated location of Cornagee Viewpoint, it offers fantastic views over the surrounding landscape. From here, straight in front of you is Upper Lough MacNean and to your left you will see Lurganacally Mountain.

The characteristic u-shaped valley of Glenfarne can be clearly seen from Cornagee Viewpoint. This valley would have been originally formed by a river, but during the last glaciation, huge ice sheets would have taken advantage of this route and scoured out the huge u-shaped valley that we see today. In clear weather, the mountains of south Donegal may be seen to the north-west and Truskmore, guarding over Sligo town to the west.

4.Cavan Burren Park

Cavan Burren Park is a unique landscape of geological and archaeological features in an open natural setting – a truly prehistoric park. Whether it’s the wide-open landscapes, fascinating Interpretative Centre, the perfectly preserved glacial erratics, spectacular megaliths, bog-bridge walking trails or limestone pavement, a visit to Cavan Burren Park is an opportunity to experience a vast yet accessible world of natural and built heritage.

Take time to experience the Interpretative Centre and four walking trails, ranging from short trails, including one multi-accessible trail to longer, more challenging ones, all which guide the visitor through some of Cavan Burren Park’s most intriguing archaeological and geological features.

5.Shannon Pot

The Shannon Pot is the source to the longest river in Ireland and the UK, measuring over 360km in length. The spring is about 16 metres in diameter with a depth of over 9 metres.

Legendary Irish folklore has it that Síonnan, the daughter of Lodan (a son of the Celtic God of the Sea, Lír), came to the Shannon Pot in search of the great Salmon of Wisdom. The great salmon was angered at the sight of Síonnan and caused the pool to overflow and drown the maiden. Thus, the Shannon was created and still bears her name today.

Today the Geosite hosts a children’s play area and picnic area.

6.Killykeen Forest Park

Killykeen Forest Park is a picturesque forest park located in a very scenic area of County Cavan, on the shores of the magnificent Lough Oughter lake system. The forest park is home to a network of multi-accessible paths, both along the lake shore and throughout the forest, a 3km family cycle trail, as well as picnic areas. Bikes and canoes can also be hired on site during the summer months.

Located just outside Cavan town and close to the town of Killeshandra, with a unique footbridge linking the two towns, Killykeen is a very popular recreation area with families, bird watchers, walkers and anglers. Lough Oughter is renowned for course fishing with the main species of fish being pike, bream and perch.

7.Lough Oughter Loughshore

Rann Point is located on the shores of Lough Oughter, which is a complex maze of waterways, islands and ninety small lakes along the course of the River Erne. Lough Oughter itself is home to a huge variety of birds, to include mallard, tufted duck and in the winter months, wigeon and pochard.

Clough Oughter Castle can be seen clearly from Rann Point as it stands alone in the middle of the vast and uninterrupted beauty of Lough Oughter. The circular Anglo-Norman tower is situated on a small man-made island that was built by the Anglo-Norman de Lacy family in the early 13th Century when they tried to conquer the local Irish Chieftains. Cavan Adventure Centre provide guided boat trips as well as kayak and canoe hire to the castle. For more information click here (link to be inserted) or call +353 (0)49 4893630.

8.Castle Saunderson

Castle Saunderson is set in the heart of the Geopark. The story of Castle Saunderson is marked by fire and blood, conquest and division, and finally, peace, reconciliation and multiculturalism, with an international Scouting Centre opening adjacent to the castle in 2012. In many ways, the story of Castle Saunderson is reflective of the story of the island of Ireland.

The development of the Castle Trail has seen the original walkways around the castle reinstated, and charts the history of the Saundersons, one of the most significant Anglo-Irish families, and in particular, Colonel Edward Saunderson, known as the ‘Hero of the Loyalists’ and the founder of modern Irish Unionism. Edward’s family’s story is fascinating and includes Brian Boru, William of Orange and even infamous Nazi war criminals.

Geopark Sites on this Tour

Lough MacNean Amenity Area

Lough MacNean Amenity Area

Toam, Cavan

Lough MacNean is a large freshwater lake divided into two parts.

8 miles
Cornagee Viewpoint

Cornagee Viewpoint

Cornagee, Cavan

Cornagee translates from Irish as ‘rounded windy hill’ and on many days of the y...

17 miles
Cavan Burren Park

Cavan Burren Park

Burren, Cavan

A mythical, spiritual landscape of monuments, megalithic tombs, hut sites and pr...

18 miles
Shannon Pot

Shannon Pot

Derrylahan, Cavan

As the surface rising of Ireland’s longest river, the Shannon Pot’s fame can be ...

21 miles
Killykeen Forest Park

Killykeen Forest Park

Killykeen, Cavan

A picturesque forest park located on the shores of the magnificent Lough Oughter...

26 miles
Clough Oughter Castle

Clough Oughter Castle

Killeshandra, Cavan

The castle is located on a small island on Lough Oughter, which is a complex maz...

26 miles
Castle Saunderson

Castle Saunderson

Castlesaunderson, Cavan

The story of Castle Saunderson is marked by fire and blood, conquest, and divisi...

24 miles

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