"From Whence the Might Shannon Flows" Cavan by WhispersWest

Cavan Travel Guide: 3 reviews and 8 photos

County Cavan ~ Land of Lakes & Shannon Pot

Cavan’s meandering rivers, streams and tree-lined lakes provide the visitor with excellent opportunities for fishing, cruising and swimming. With its 365 lakes - one for each day of the year, you could spend a year here with ease, if you were a fisher.

The Shannon-Erne Waterway links the two rivers, which spring from the barren Cuilcagh Mountains in Cavan’s north-west. The mystical source of the Shannon, known as the 'Shannon Pot', is just a few miles north of Dowra, on the Cavan Way.

The many small towns and villages throughout the county offer a friendly and hospitable atmosphere. Jonathan Swift is said to have come up with the idea for Gulliver’s Travels while visiting Virginia, a small town on the shores of Lough Ramor.

Irish Founded, Irish Settled & Irish Still Today

Cavan, the county's principal town, is interesting because of its unusual layout - and for its welcoming pubs! Cavan was the only medieval town in Ireland founded by the Irish themselves, and its narrow streets still follow the same pattern that was set down seven centuries ago. Unfortunately, the town was burned on many occasions and as result there are very few historical buildings in the town dating back to the 17th century.

The Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Patrick and Phelim is the most dominent building in the town. Completed in 1942, with 68m spire and flanking domes, the vast interior is styled like a basilica and extensive use is made of different colours of marble. The cathedral houses many fine examples of ecclesiastical art. There are also stained-glass windows by Harry Clarke, one of Ireland's leading artists.

The town has two important streets, Farnham Street and Main Street. These are joined by four less important streets; Thomas Ashe Street, Town Hall Street, Bridge Street and College Street. Main Street is the main shopping area in the town. There you will find the Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, Allied Irish Bank and the Post Office. The major supermarkets are Tesco and Dunnes Stores. Smaller shops, restaurants and boutiques line the rest of the street.Town Hall Street links Farnham Street and Main Street. The Town Hall itself is the centre of the Urban Council and was built in 1910. Bridge Street was one of the first streets, linking Tullymongan Castle to St. Mary's Abbey. It took its name from the bridge that crosses the River Kinnypottle

Take a Walk Along the Cavan Way

I took the to the path beginning in Black Lion and had someone meet me in Dowra. It was a long walk but well worth the effort.

A walking path, snaking up from the town between two rather unremarkable buildings, could easily be missed by passers-by. But the path marks an entrance to the Cavan Way, a 16-mile (25-kilometer) trail that leads hikers through hills and valleys, past everything from crumbling stone houses to Megalithic ruins (ancient structures made from giant slabs of stone). Points of interest along the Way include the Shannon Pot, the tiny body of water that marks the start of the country's famed Shannon River, and forests where you can find ancient tombs and stone monuments.

Even just a partial tour of the Way, up from the town and down back onto the main road, provides trailgoers with breathtaking elevated views of cottage-dotted hills and sparkling lakes, all the while leading them past sheep-filled pastures and hauntingly beautiful abandoned cottages -- the overgrown, forgotten remnants of families who "bought steam," leaving the area to immigrate by ship

It isn't over run with tourists, as it is off the beaten path and not mentioned in a lot of the tourist guides.

  • Last visit to Cavan: Jul 2006
  • Intro Written Nov 21, 2006
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