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County Cavan
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County Cavan from Samuel Lewis' Topographical Directory of Ireland 1837

County Cavan is the southern most of the counties of Ulster, it has a land area of 1,891 sq km (730 sq mi) it is in Cavan that the rivers Erne and Shannon have their source. The Shannon which is the longest river in the British isles rises on the slopes of Cuilcagh Mountain, 667 Metres (2,188 feet) it gets its name from Sionna, the grand daughter of the Celtic sea god Lir. The River Erne which rises in Lough Gowna and flows generally northwards through the centre of the county passing through many small lakes which are a paradise for anglers, it is said that Cavan has 365 rivers.

The Shannon-Erne Waterway which was restored and reopened in the mid 90's offers a superb opportunity to enjoy the tranquil countryside of Cavan using one of the many river and canal cruisers which can be hired on both the Shannon and Erne. The waterway has a total length of 62.5 kms with 16 automated locks and 34 bridges, there are 6 mooring service/areas where you can stock up on supplies or just relax.

If the marine way of life doesn't appeal to you you could rent a self catering cottage, or stay in a country guest house in one of the county's small towns and villages. The county is generally regarded as one of the best places for course angling in the country.

The landscape of Cavan was sculpted by the ice sheets which left behind many drumlins and lakes as they receded. Evidence of early man's habitation of the are are to be found in profusion in the many stone forts and prehistoric remains scattered across the county. The county takes its name from Cavan town which grew up around an early monastery. Giolla Íosa Rúadh O'Reilly founded a Friary for the Franciscans around 1300. The Friary was severely damaged by fire in 1451. The name Cavan comes from the Irish An Cabhan 'The Hollow'

Read Walter Harris' account of County Cavan in 1836

Cycling in County Cavan.

The Kingfisher Cycle Trail covers over 300 miles of fully mapped and signposted cycle route from Cavans' lakelands to the Atlantic Coast, to hire a bicycle locally contact one of the bicycle hire shops below.

On Yer Bike Tours - Tel +353 (0) 49 95 22219

Padraig Fitzpatrick Cycles, Belturbet - Tel +353 (0) 49 9522866

Cavan Tourist Office
Johnston Library & Farnham Centre
Farnham Street
Tel +353 (0)49 43 77200
E Mail
Web Site

Cavan was made famous by Percy French with his song, 'Come back Paddy Reilly to Ballyjamesduff' It appears Paddy did come back after a stay of eighteen years in Scotland.

Read the words here.

Read about County Cavan in 1837 from Lewis' Topographical Survey of Ireland.




Print the county map below
with a list of places to see,
and tourist office contact details.
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Google Map of County Cavan.