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Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands – Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark

The Keepers Arms is located within the boundaries of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.  A geopark is an area of significant geological interest.  A stay at The Keepers Arms will be enriched by visits to nearby geopark attractions including The Cavan Burren Forest Park, Marble Arch Caves and The Cuilcagh Board Walk fondly now known asThe Stairway to Heaven”.

The nearby ancient Christian monastic island of St Mogues which can only be reached by boat holds a wonderful story in early Christian history.  A magical place the island can be visited by pre booking a guide and boat.

Walking

Cuilcagh Lakeland UNESCO Geopark takes in 2,500 hectares on the northern slopes of Cuilcagh Mountain, at the heart of the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark. 

Cuilcagh Mountain Park was founded in 1998 with assistance from the European Union’s LIFE Peatlands Project and the Heritage Lottery Fund, to restore damaged peatland, to conserve pristine blanket bog and to increase awareness of bog land habitats and wildlife.

At 665 meters (2188 feet) above sea level, Cuilcagh is the highest point and the only true mountain in this part of the island of Ireland.

Trails in the Cavan

We have some amazing in Burren Park trails at Cavan Burren Park – in fact we have over 10km of trails in total from accessible trails to bog bridge trails over limestone bedrock and past some of the finest prehistoric features in Ireland.

The longer distance walking route – The Cavan Way also runs through Cavan Burren Park. This is a 26km walking trail from the village of Dowra to the village of Blacklion in West Cavan and is a must for the walking enthusiast. 

Trails within the park include the Calf House Dolmen Trail, the Giant’s Leap Trail, the Promontory Fort Trail and the Tullygobban Lough Trail. Each boasts its own features of interest from biodiversity and archaeology to 360° views and treasure hunts.  

Includes bog bridge steps and gravel path surface and guides the visitor through the tranquil Lost Valley past a promontory fort. Fantastic views across the surrounding landscape. 

Cuilcagh Board Walk Trail – Stairway to Heaven 

The Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail, also nicknamed the Stairway to Heaven Walk, is located in Co. Fermanagh. The route meanders through one of the largest expanses of blanket bog the Geopark, traversing over tracks, boardwalk and staircase. A steep climb is required to reach the viewing platform on Cuilcagh Mountain which provides breath taking views of the surrounding low lands. The Keepers Arms is just 30 minutes drive. 

The Cavan Way -26km  

This is one of the oldest walks in the Geopark. It is a beautiful hill & valley walk between Dowra village & Blacklion village. The first section of the Cavan Way follows the course of the of the young Shannon river to its source at the mystical Shannon Pot.The walk travels along quiet country roads, valley landscapes and riverside paths, through the Cavan Burren and into Blacklion. Have a rest in the Market House Visitor Centre. 

Killykeen Forest Park 

This wonderful park is located 6km from Killeshandra just 30 minutes from the Keepers Arms. There are 4 marked trails and a family cycle trail in the park. Killykeen lies on the shores of Lough Oughter, part of the river Erne System. A variety of water fowl, birds, – mallards, tufted duck are to be spotted. Great family day out. 

The Bawnboy Loop: 5-13km

Located just outside Bawnboy village from the car park follow the blue markers through the forest with a steady climb of 130 meters to the viewing area where you can see down to Brackley Lake, the walk starts to descend & bring you back to the carpark. Time 1 hours 

Slieve Rushen Walk 

Trail head located in Bawnboy village, follow the map out of the village to start the gentle assent into the Slieve Rushen Mountain, with stunning views the higher you go and different loops to take. Maps available from The Keepers Arms

Woodford River Walk – Ballyconnell 

Start point carpark opposite supermarket, continue your path along the river till you eventually emerge into open fields on the right & the river on the left. Continue on to Annagh Woods, keeping right and enjoy the circular walk through the forest which is part of the old Ballyconnell Demesne with many native Irish trees. Keep left when path fork’s, continue along the edge of the forest till you meet canal footpath, turn left for home or if you want to cross the footbridge this will bring you into the town back to carpark.

Heritage 

The Marble Arch Caves 

Discover magical moments in one of Europe’s finest show caves. Set in the heart of the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark, the Marble Arch Caves pay homage to the fascinating secrets of a world of subterranean rivers, winding passages, lofty chambers and an array of delicate cave formations. A carefully constructed path enables you to comfortably traverse the Marble Arch Caves whilst discrete lighting displays the cave features and delicate cave formations to their best. Our enthusiastic guides will lead you through awe-inspiring passages and further enhance your experience by interpreting the stories of this wondrous show cave.

Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Geopark

Geology 

The base of Cuilcagh Mountain is formed from limestone, as you walk up the mountain track towards the summit, the rocks change to mudstones and siltstones, with sandstone on top.  

These rocks formed over 300 million years ago when the land that is now Ireland was covered by a shallow tropical sea near the Equator.  

The remains of billions of tiny sea creatures drifted down as fine sediment and collected on the sea bed to form limestone.  As sea levels fell the tropical sea was replaced with tidal flats, and then by a humid river delta eventually forming other sedimentary rocks – mudstones, siltstones, and sandstones.

Over time, the land pushed up out of the sea and moved north away from the Equator. Later still, the Irish landscape was altered by the erosive forces of nature including successive Ice Ages when massive ice sheets gouged the rocks beneath them. While these rocks are common in Ireland, it is very unusual to find such a complete sequence all in one place. It is quite mind-boggling to think that as you ascend to the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain, you are climbing up through geological time, covering a period of about 8 million years in just less than 700 meters.

Flora & Fauna

Cuilcagh many different natural habitats mean it is a perfect place to enjoy nature. 

From the summit, there are breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, including a sweeping expanse of blanket bog, stretching like a huge cloak across the middle slopes of the mountain. 

This is one of the largest blanket bogs in Northern Ireland and one of the most intact blanket bogs in Western Europe.

Blanket bogs are wet, squelchy places where the peat forms from the remains of mosses and other plants in a layer typically 2-3 meters deep and supporting unique plants, animals and insects that are adapted to the water-logged ground.

Blanket bogs usually exist alongside other habitat types and on Cuilcagh, areas of heath are commonly mistaken for blanket bog as they contain many of the same types of plants and animals. Montane heath is an extremely rare type of heathland, found on the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain, which is one of only a handful of locations in Ireland.

Many streams and rivers flow off the upper slopes of Cuilcagh through the blanket bog and sink into the limestone carving out a network of hidden caves. The lower slopes of Cuilcagh are dominated by rare limestone grasslands that are awash with colour when wildflowers and herbs burst into life in the spring. Cuilcagh also supports a diverse range of animal, bird and insect life including the rare Golden Plover.

History 

Man’s influence on Cuilcagh Mountain dates back to the Neolithic farmers (4,000 – 2,500 BC) who constructed many megaliths, or stone tombs used as burial places. Bronze Age (2,500 – 500BC) people built large burial cairns that are located on the western and eastern ends of the summit. Later evidence of human occupancy is sketchy until medieval times when the Irish population was high and land was at a premium.  More recently, the Irish Famine in the mid-19th Century forced people to abandon the land so all that remains of their once thriving rural community today are derelict stone farm cottages and field walls.

Cavan Genealogy 

Discover your Cavan ancestry at this centre, where its database holds more than half a million records of baptism, marriages, burials, and census. Located in the Johnston Library Cavan – http://www.rootsireland.ie/cavan-genealogy/

Education & Events

The Geopark carries out a range of Geopark education programs on Cuilcagh every year when students, from primary school through to university, visit Cuilcagh every year to take a closer look at the many geological features or to conduct field studies on the blanket bog. The Geopark also runs events for the public to enjoy such as Jeep Safaris.

Cavan County Museum 

Our county Museum aim is to collect, conserve and ultimately display the material heritage and culture of County Cavan and its environs, for the benefit of the public.

Exhibition galleries feature unique artefacts dating from the Stone Age up until the twentieth century, material spanning over 6000 years of occupation in Cavan. 

Displays of notable interest include the Killycluggan stone and the three-faced Corleck Head, two of the most recognisable examples of Celtic spirituality in the country.

The museum also houses a medieval Dug-Out boat and a selection of medieval Sheela-na-Gigs, as well as a Folk Life gallery depicting life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Newly-opened galleries deal with topics as diverse as the Great Famine, Percy French and the Lords Farnham. Our temporary exhibition space plays host to visiting and currently relevant exhibitions, whilst our Eden Gallery is home to regular art shows given by local and national artists. 

World War One Trench Experience at the Museum 

Cavan County Museum is now home to the largest outdoor replica trench open to the public. The Trench is becoming a must-see attraction for visitors since it opened in August 2014. It includes sound and visual effects to enhance the experience and educate visitors on life in the trenches in World War One.

St Mogue’s Island 

This is reputedly the birth place of St Mogue (St Aiden) a noted early Irish saint. It contains early Christian monastic ruins and a graveyard. The island features largely in local tradition and folklore. It entered the realms of modern folklore in 1943 with the crash of an RAF Beaufighter plane. The beautiful legend of St Mogue’s birth is well preserved in the parish of Templeport. 

Kilnavart Megalithic Tomb 

This late bronze structure would have being covered by a cairn of stones but all that remains is the well preserved burial chamber. The two adjacent pillar stones may be connected to the site.

The Bawn 

Located just outside Bawnboy village. This was an Ulster Plantation Fort, possibly built on the site of an old Magauran stronghold probably around 1610/15. The place name Bawnboy derives from the Irish, An Bábhún Buí – The Yellow Bawn Buí (boy) meaning yellow, received its name from the colour of the sand used in the building of the Bawn.

Holy Trinity (Barn) Church

This church stands about 2km from Bawnboy. It is a rare example of a barn church. The long narrow plan is most unusual with the Altar on the rear wall and the congregation – men on one side (south) and women the other (north), facing each other. 

The austerity of Kildoagh, combined with its date, 1776 and the fact that almost nothing had been altered since it was built makes it of great importance. There are two pointed door cases and four pointed windows on the front and four pointed windows on the rear wall. 

The walls are built of rubble stone and rendered with lime plaster. The pointed windows with much of their original glass have good timber tracery and chamfered dressings of finely cut limestone. The door cases also have chamfered limestone dressings. Over the altar is a wooden crucifix, which is quite rare and could well date from the early 19th century. A great rarity, certainly one of the finest barn churches surviving in Ireland and as such is of international importance.

Bawnboy Road & Templeport Railway Station 

This station was built in 187 on the Cavan and Leitrim narrow gauge Railway line which connected the Great Northern Railway Line at Belturbet with the Dublin Sligo line in Dromod.

The line closed in 1959 and the station was rebuilt as a community centre in 2000. 

A picture-story of trains is available to view here. 

Kilnavart Church 

After the overthrow of Crom Cruaich, St Patrick established the Church at Kilnavart. 

The 1609 Baronial map shows a church in the same grounds. At some stage in the 18th century it was reported that at Kilnavart are the remains of an ancient monastery with an extensive burial place still in use. 

A thatched church with clay floors and a gallery was built between 1780 and 1790. That church was replaced in 1876/8 with the present building designed by William Hague of Cavan.

Bawnboy Workhouse 

A fine cut stone group of buildings erected in 1852. It served the poor of the parishes of Templeport, Corlough, Kildallan, Drumreilly, Newtowngore, Ballinamore, Swanlinbar and part of Glanglevlin.

A board of guardians governed, some were nominated by the Grand Jury and the others by the voters of tax payers. 

The Guardians levied a rate on the union (area) and used the proceeds to support the workhouse. Discipline was strict in the workhouse and the diet was limited. 

Men were segregated from the women and children from their parents. From left to right in the front row of buildings there were the following sections – lock up, female probation ward, girls school, waiting room, boardroom, office, entrance gates, masters rooms, surgery store, boys school and male probationary ward. 

In the central portion of the building with steps up to the entrance hallway – on the right of the hallway was the dairy with a window, wide and low through which food was passed into the kitchen. 

On the left of the hallway are two doors, the first is on the porters room, the second a stairway. 

A door at the end of the hallway, two steps up, leads directly into the kitchen. There are two boilers in the left hand corners of the kitchen and a fireplace in the centre of the left hand wall. 

A door through the centre of the back wall led to the dining room. There are two entrance doors, left and right, on the dining room walls. The dining room and chapel are now one big room (since 1954). In the back there were two doors, right and left through which the inmates entered for Sunday mass, Men through the right door and women through the left door. 

Immediately to the right hand side of the chapel in the second row of workhouse buildings is a passage with a staircase. It was here on the first and second floors that a vocational school was opened in 1933 when a Miss Daisy O Connor took charge of a Domestic Economy class, to which, were added manual instruction (woodwork) and general subjects in 1934. 

In the first row of buildings (on right when facing) the boy’s schoolroom became a dance hall in the 1920s and was used for meetings, concerts, and Irish dancing classes during the following decades.  

St Peter’s Church 

A fifteen century Vatican document records the presence of a Church on this site. The building as ceded to the established (Anglican) Church in 1594. The fine neo-gothic Church that stands there now was rebuilt in 1815. St Mogue is credited in his time with building the fine Church on Inch Island (St Mogue’s Island).  A roman document of 1416 shows that there is still a church on the island although by this time a new church has been built on the mainland. The new church Templeport, was sequestered in 1590 and handed over to the state of King James 1 in 1609. 

Since then it has been the property of the Church of Ireland. It has been renovated at least twice and had a particularly extensive upgrading or rebuilding in 1815 at a cost of £1500 which was a huge sum in those times. It is now called St Peter’s Church. The parish of Templeport derives its name from this site, Teampall a “Phoirt (the Church on the bank).

Drumlane Abby

Drumlane monastic site is 10 km from Bawnboy. 

Located just outside the village of Milltown, County Cavan on a beautiful site overlooking Garfinny Lough, the intriguing monastic site of Drumlane includes an abbey, a monastery and a remarkably intact round tower constructed in the year 555AD.

Although the monastery is closely affiliated to St. Mogue, it is believed the site was constructed some time before his arrival and most likely by St. Colmcille. 

The circular round tower, which stands next to the Abbey at Drumlane is remarkably intact and is recognised as the only surviving round tower of its kind in the dioceses of Kilmore. 

Round towers were built throughout Ireland between the 5th and 13th centuries. Interpretation and parking are available on site.

To Do 

Walking 

Cuilcagh Lakeland UNESCO Geopark takes in 2,500 hectares on the northern slopes of Cuilcagh Mountain, at the heart of the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark. Cuilcagh Mountain Park was founded in 1998 with assistance from the European Union’s LIFE Peatlands Project and the Heritage Lottery Fund, to restore damaged peatland, to conserve pristine blanket bog and to increase awareness of bog land habitats and wildlife. At 665 meters (2188 feet) above sea level, Cuilcagh is the highest point and the only true mountain in this part of the island of Ireland.

 

Trails in the Cavan

We have some amazing n Burren Park trails at Cavan Burren Park – in fact we have over 10km of trails in total from accessible trails to bog bridge trails over limestone bedrock and past some of the finest prehistoric features in Ireland.The longer distance walking route – The Cavan Way also runs through Cavan Burren Park. This is a 26km walking trail from the village of Dowra to the village of Blacklion in West Cavan and is a must for the walking enthusiast. 

Trails within the park include the Calf House Dolmen Trail, the Giant’s Leap Trail, the Promontory Fort Trail and the Tullygobban Lough Trail. Each boasts its own features of interest from biodiversity and archaeology to 360° views and treasure hunts.  

Includes bog bridge steps and gravel path surface and guides the visitor through the tranquil Lost Valley past a promontory fort. Fantastic views across the surrounding landscape.

 

Cuilcagh Board Walk Trail – Stairway to Heaven 

The Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail, also nicknamed the Stairway to Heaven Walk, is located in Co. Fermanagh. The route meanders through one of the largest expanses of blanket bog the Geopark, traversing over tracks, boardwalk and staircase. A step climb is required to reach the viewing platform on Cuilcagh Mountain which provides breath taking views of the surrounding low lands. The Keepers Arms is just 30 minutes’ drive. 

 

The Cavan Way -26km 

This is one of the oldest walks in the Geopark. It is a beautiful hill & valley walk between Dowra village & Blacklion village. The first section of the Cavan Way follows the course of the of the young Shannon river to its source at the mystical Shannon Pot. The walk travels along quiet country roads, valley landscapes and riverside paths, through the Cavan Burren and into Blacklion. Have a rest in the Market House Visitor Centre. 

Killykeen Forest Park 

This wonderful park is located 6km from Killeshandra just 30 minutes from the Keepers Arms. There are 4 marked trails and a family cycle trail in the park. Killykeen lies on the shores of Lough Oughter, part of the river Erne System. A variety of water fowl, birds, – mallards, tufted duck are to be spotted. Great family day out. 

 

The Bawnboy Loop  

Located just outside Bawnboy village from the car park follow the blue markers through the forest with a steady climb of 130 meters to the viewing area where you can see down to Brackley Lake, the walk starts to descend & bring you back to the carpark. Time 1 hours 

Slieve Rushen Walk 

Trail head located in Bawnboy village, follow the map out of the village to start the gentle assent into the Slieve Rushen Mountain, with stunning views the higher you go and different loops to take. Maps available from The Keepers Arms

 

Woodford River Walk – Ballyconnell

Start point carpark opposite supermarket, continue your path along the river till you eventually emerge into open fields on the right & the river on the left. Continue on to Annagh Woods, keeping right and enjoy the circular walk through the forest which is part of the old Ballyconnell Demesne with many native Irish trees. Keep left when path fork’s, continue along the edge of the forest till you meet canal footpath, turn left for home or if you want to cross the footbridge this will bring you into the town back to carpark. 

 

Heritage 

The Marble Arch Caves 

Discover magical moments in one of Europe’s finest show caves. 

Set in the heart of the Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark, the Marble Arch Caves pay homage to the fascinating secrets of a world of subterranean rivers, winding passages, lofty chambers and an array of delicate cave formations.

A carefully constructed path enables you to comfortably traverse the Marble Arch Caves whilst discrete lighting displays the cave features and delicate cave formations to their best. 

Our enthusiastic guides will lead you through awe-inspiring passages and further enhance your experience by interpreting the stories of this wondrous show cave.

 

Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Geopark 

Geology 

The base of Cuilcagh Mountain is formed from limestone, as you walk up the mountain track towards the summit, the rocks change to mudstones and siltstones, with sandstone on top.  

These rocks formed over 300 million years ago when the land that is now Ireland was covered by a shallow tropical sea near the Equator.  

The remains of billions of tiny sea creatures drifted down as fine sediment and collected on the sea bed to form limestone.  As sea levels fell the tropical sea was replaced with tidal flats, and then by a humid river delta eventually forming other sedimentary rocks – mudstones, siltstones, and sandstones.

Over time, the land pushed up out of the sea and moved north away from the Equator. Later still, the Irish landscape was altered by the erosive forces of nature including successive Ice Ages when massive ice sheets gouged the rocks beneath them. While these rocks are common in Ireland, it is very unusual to find such a complete sequence all in one place. It is quite mind-boggling to think that as you ascend to the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain, you are climbing up through geological time, covering a period of about 8 million years in just less than 700 meters.

 

Flora & Fauna

Cuilcagh many different natural habitats mean it is a perfect place to enjoy nature. 

 From the summit, there are breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, including a sweeping expanse of blanket bog, stretching like a huge cloak across the middle slopes of the mountain.  

This is one of the largest blanket bogs in Northern Ireland and one of the most intact blanket bogs in Western Europe.

Blanket bogs are wet, squelchy places where the peat forms from the remains of mosses and other plants in a layer typically 2-3 meters deep and supporting unique plants, animals and insects that are adapted to the water-logged ground.

Blanket bogs usually exist alongside other habitat types and on Cuilcagh, areas of heath are commonly mistaken for blanket bog as they contain many of the same types of plants and animals. Montane heath is an extremely rare type of heathland, found on the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain, which is one of only a handful of locations in Ireland.

Many streams and rivers flow off the upper slopes of Cuilcagh through the blanket bog and sink into the limestone carving out a network of hidden caves. The lower slopes of Cuilcagh are dominated by rare limestone grasslands that are awash with colour when wildflowers and herbs burst into life in the spring. Cuilcagh also supports a diverse range of animal, bird and insect life including the rare Golden Plover.

History 

Man’s influence on Cuilcagh Mountain dates back to the Neolithic farmers (4,000 – 2,500 BC) who constructed many megaliths, or stone tombs used as burial places.  Bronze Age (2,500 – 500BC) people built large burial cairns that are located on the western and eastern ends of the summit. Later evidence of human occupancy is sketchy until medieval times when the Irish population was high and land was at a premium.  

More recently, the Irish Famine in the mid-19th Century forced people to abandon the land so all that remains of their once thriving rural community today are derelict stone farm cottages and field walls.

 

Cavan Genealogy 

Discover your Cavan ancestry at this centre, where its database holds more than half a million records of baptism, marriages, burials, and census. Located in the Johnston Library Cavan – http://www.rootsireland.ie/cavan-genealogy/

 

Education & Events

The Geopark carries out a range of Geopark education programs on Cuilcagh every year when students, from primary school through to university, visit Cuilcagh every year to take a closer look at the many geological features or to conduct field studies on the blanket bog. 

The Geopark also runs events for the public to enjoy such as Jeep Safaris.

 

Cavan County Museum 

Our county Museum aim is to collect, conserve and ultimately display the material heritage and culture of County Cavan and its environs, for the benefit of the public.

Exhibition galleries feature unique artefacts dating from the Stone Age up until the twentieth century, material spanning over 6000 years of occupation in Cavan. 

Displays of notable interest include the Killycluggan stone and the three-faced Corleck Head, two of the most recognisable examples of Celtic spirituality in the country.

The museum also houses a medieval Dug-Out boat and a selection of medieval Sheela-na-Gigs, as well as a Folk Life gallery depicting life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Newly-opened galleries deal with topics as diverse as the Great Famine, Percy French and the Lords Farnham. Our temporary exhibition space plays host to visiting and currently relevant exhibitions, whilst our Eden Gallery is home to regular art shows given by local and national artists. 

 

World War One Trench Experience at the Museum

Cavan County Museum is now home to the largest outdoor replica trench open to the public. 

The Trench is becoming a must-see attraction for visitors since it opened in August 2014. 

It includes sound and visual effects to enhance the experience and educate visitors on life in the trenches in World War One.

 

St Mogue’s Island 

This is reputedly the birth place of St Mogue (St Aiden) a noted early Irish saint. 

It contains early Christian monastic ruins and a graveyard. The island features largely in local tradition and folklore. 

It entered the realms of modern folklore in 1943 with the crash of an RAF Beaufighter plane. 

The beautiful legend of St Mogue’s birth is well preserved in the parish of Templeport. 

 

Kilnavart Megalithic Tomb 

This late bronze structure would have being covered by a cairn of stones but all that remains is the well preserved burial chamber. The two adjacent pillar stones may be connected to the site.

 

The Bawn 

Located just outside Bawnboy village. 

This was an Ulster Plantation Fort, possibly built on the site of an old Magauran stronghold probably around 1610/15. 

The place name Bawnboy derives from the Irish, An Bábhún Buí – The Yellow Bawn Buí (boy) meaning yellow, received its name from the colour of the sand used in the building of the Bawn. . 

Holy Trinity (Barn) Church

This church stands about 2km from Bawnboy. It is a rare example of a barn church. The long narrow plan is most unusual with the Altar on the rear wall and the congregation – men on one side (south) and women the other (north), facing each other. 

The austerity of Kildoagh, combined with its date, 1776 and the fact that almost nothing had been altered since it was built makes it of great importance. There are two pointed door cases and four pointed windows on the front and four pointed windows on the rear wall. 

The walls are built of rubble stone and rendered with lime plaster. The pointed windows with much of their original glass have good timber tracery and chamfered dressings of finely cut limestone. The door cases also have chamfered limestone dressings. Over the altar is a wooden crucifix, which is quiet rare and could well date from the early 19th century. A great rarity, certainly one of the finest barn churches surviving in Ireland and as such is of international importance.

Bawnboy Road & Templeport Railway Station 

This station was built in 187 on the Cavan and Leitrim narrow gauge Railway line which connected the Great Northern Railway Line at Beltrubet with the Dublin Sligo line in Dromod. The line closed in 1959 and the station was rebuilt as a community centre in 2000. A picture-story of trains is available to view here.  

Kilnavart Church 

After the overthrow of Crom Cruaich, St Patrick established the Church at Kilnavart. 

The 1609 Baronial map shows a church in the same grounds. At some stage in the 18th century it was reported that at Kilnavart are the remains of an ancient monastery with an extensive burial place still in use. 

A thatched church with clay floors and a gallery was built between 1780 and 1790. That church was replaced in 1876/8 with the present building designed by William Hague of Cavan. 

Bawnboy Workhouse 

A fine cut stone group of buildings erected in 1852. It served the poor of the parishes of Templeport, Corlough, Kildallan, Drumreilly, Newtowngore, Ballinamore, Swanlinbar and part of Glanglevlin.

A board of guardians governed, some were nominated by the Grand Jury and the others by the voters of tax payers. 

The Guardians levied a rate on the union (area) and used the proceeds to support the workhouse. Discipline was strict in the workhouse and the diet was limited. 

Men were segregated from the women and children from their parents. From left to right in the front row of buildings there were the following sections – lock up, female probation ward, girls school, waiting room, boardroom, office, entrance gates, masters rooms, surgery store, boys school and male probationary ward. 

In the central portion of the building with steps up to the entrance hallway – on the right of the hallway was the dairy with a window, wide and low through which food was passed into the kitchen. 

On the left of the hallway are two doors, the first is on the porters room, the second a stairway. 

A door at the end of the hallway, two steps up, leads directly into the kitchen. There are two boilers in the left hand corners of the kitchen and a fireplace in the centre of the left hand wall. 

A door through the centre of the back wall led to the dining room. There are two entrance doors, left and right, on the dining room walls. The dining room and chapel are now one big room (since 1954). In the back there were two doors, right and left through which the inmates entered for Sunday mass, Men through the right door and women through the left door. 

Immediately to the right hand side of the chapel in the second row of workhouse buildings is a passage with a staircase. It was here on the first and second floors that a vocational school was opened in 1933 when a Miss Daisy O Connor took charge of a Domestic Economy class, to which, were added manual instruction (woodwork) and general subjects in 1934. 

In the first row of buildings (on right when facing) the boy’s schoolroom became a dance hall in the 1920s and was used for meetings, concerts, and Irish dancing classes during the following decades.  

St Peter’s Church 

A fifteen century Vatican document records the presence of a Church on this site. 

The building as ceded to the established (Anglican) Church in 1594. The fine neo-gothic Church that stands there now was rebuilt in 1815.

St Mogue was credited in his time with building the fine Church on Inch Island (St Mogue’s Island). 

A roman document of 1416 shows that there is still a church on the island although by this time a new church has been built on the mainland. The new church Templeport, was sequestered in 1590 and handed over to the state of King James 1 in 1609. 

Since then it has been the property of the Church of Ireland. It has been renovated at least twice and had a particularly extensive upgrading or rebuilding in 1815 at a cost of £1500 which was a huge sum in those times. 

It is now called St Peter’s Church. The parish of Templeport derives its name from this site, Teampall a “Phoirt (the Church on the bank).

 

Drumlane Abby

Drumlane monastic site is 10 km from Bawnboy. 

Located just outside the village of Milltown, County Cavan on a beautiful site overlooking Garfinny Lough, the intriguing monastic site of Drumlane includes an abbey, a monastery and a remarkably intact round tower constructed in the year 555AD.

Although the monastery is closely affiliated to St. Mogue, it is believed the site was constructed some time before his arrival and most likely by St. Colmcille. 

The circular round tower, which stands next to the Abbey at Drumlane is remarkably intact and is recognised as the only surviving round tower of its kind in the dioceses of Kilmore. Round towers were built throughout Ireland between the 5th and 13th centuries. Interpretation and parking are available on site.

Fenagh Abbey 

Fenagh Abbey is one of the oldest monastic sites in Ireland, believed to date back to the earliest period of Celtic monasticism. 

The founder was St. Caillin, thought to have arrived in Fenagh from Dunmore in Country Galway in the 5th century (according to the Book of Fenagh). 

The Abbey had a monastic school and was “celebrated for its divinity school, which was resorted to by students from every part of Europe”.

The Abbey has (among other features) an east window of unusual design and a relief-carved 17th-century penal cross. A number of standing stones in the vicinity represent the petrified bodies of druids who tried to expel St. Caillin from Fenagh. There are a number of other prehistoric remains located in or near the village. A portal tomb at the north of the village is said to be the burial place of King Conall Gulban. Nineteen Gaelic kings are said to be buried in the graveyard. There was also a divinity school at Fenagh. It is believed that community life continued until 1652, when Cromwellian soldiers sacked it. It was damaged by cannon fire during the Williamite wars in 1690, and the last service was said in 1729. The site is on the northern shore of Fenagh Lough.

The Book of Fenagh was completed at the monastery in 1516, and a copy is now kept at the Royal Irish Academy. It was written in Irish, and contains verse and prose of the “life” of St Caillin of Fenagh transcribed and translated from the, now lost, Old Book of St. Caillin. The original Old Book of St. Caillin apparently “only contained prose” but the Book of Fenagh / Leabar Chaillín / Leabar Fidhnacha of 1516, contained both prose and verse. Some poems relevant to the politics of 11th – 13th century Tyrconnell, are thought to date from an earlier period than the rest of the manuscript.

 

The Shannon Pot 

As the surface rising of Ireland’s longest river, the Shannon Pot’s fame can be traced back to the legendary Finn MacCool and the Fianna, the great warriors of Irish mythology. 

Legend 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. The Shannon Pot is located along the Blacklion to Glangevlin Road (R206) in West County Cavan and is marked by brown tourist directional signage. The site provides ample parking, a children’s play area and a picnic area. Interpretation is available both within the car park and at the Shannon Pot itself. The Shannon Pot is along the Cavan Way, a long distance walking route that starts at Blacklion and ends in Dowra.

Castles, Houses & Gardens 

Jampa Ling – Tibetan Buddhist Mediation Centre 

Jampa Ling is a meditation and retreat centre situated on a beautiful nineteenth century estate in County Cavan, Ireland. 

We are extremely fortunate to have His Holiness the Dalai Lama as our patron for over 25 years.

Jampa Ling was established in 1990 under the spiritual direction of Venerable Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche, who is a full-time resident here. The Centre is located on nineteen acres of land which include a mature birch forest and views of the spectacular Cuilcagh Mountains. The words ‘Jampa’ and ‘Ling’ together mean ‘Place of Loving-Kindness’, and Jampa Ling is indeed a place of blessing, open to everyone, of all faiths and none.

Aside from organised Buddhist teachings and meditation training, people come to Jampa Ling just to enjoy its peaceful ambience and beautiful natural surroundings – a perfect environment for meditation and relaxation.

The two fundamental elements of Tibetan Buddhism are compassion and wisdom. Developing these qualities improves every aspect of life and ultimately brings the freedom of enlightenment with the capacity to help others effectively. Within that context, and under the guidance of Ven. Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche, our aims here at Jampa Ling are:

To preserve the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and culture through teaching meditation and practice.

To work for peaceful co-existence between all living beings.

To create a meditative and educational environment in which people can find peace and loving-kindness.

To promote interfaith dialogue at a deep spiritual level and in the context of the work for harmony on this island.

To encourage the conservation of the earth’s natural resources and to develop an awareness of the oneness and interdependence of existence.

Castle Saunderson 

Castle Saunderson Demesne – Castle Trail

Located on the border between Cavan and Fermanagh, in the heart of the Cuilcagh Lakeland Geopark. 

The story of Castle Saunderson is marked by fire and blood, conquest and division and finally, peace, reconciliation and multi-culturalism, 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 Sanderson’s, 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.

While Col. Sanderson’s legacy has largely been forgotten, there is little doubt that he was a giant of 19th century Irish and British politics, and it hoped that this phase one investment in Castle Saunderson will attract visitors to the area, while acknowledging this family’s fascinating story, which takes in Brian Boru, William of Orange, and even infamous Nazi war criminals.

This exciting new addition to the Cavan tourism offering will provide overseas visitors with yet another reason to visit Cavan. The Castle is open from 9am – 5pm, Monday – Sunday. 

The entrance to Castle Saunderson is shared with Castle Saunderson International Scouting Centre, located on the N54 just outside Cloverhill and Belturbet and only 18km from Cavan town.

 

Florencecourt House & Gardens  

Is a National trust property just 20 minutes from Bawnboy, Florence Court is romantically named after the wife of Sir John Cole who first built a house on the spectacular site in the early 18th century. 

The present Palladian style house was probably built by his son John, afterwards the 1st Lord Mount Florence.

The wings and Pavilion were added to the mid-18th century block around 1770 by Wm Cole, 1st Earl of Enniskillen and may have been designed by Davis Ducart. Disaster struck Florence Court in 1955 when the main building was virtually gutted by fire.

The rest of the house and the striking plasterwork after the manner of Robert West has been meticulously restored by the National Trust. Family pictures and historic items owned by the 6th Earl of Enniskillen have been returned to Florence Court in accordance with his wishes, and are on display in the house.

Florence Court is well known to gardeners as the home of the Irish Yew, Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’, which is now a feature of gardens throughout the world. The original tree, discovered in about 1760, can still be seen on the fringe of Cottage Wood to the south-east of the house. 

 

Castle Coole 

On the outskirts of Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh stands Castle Coole, the family home of the Earls of Belmore and one of the treasures of the National Trust.

Designed by James Wyatt, this magnificent neo-classical house took ten years to build. It was completed in 1798.

The interior of the house was created by some of the leading craftsmen of the late 18th century with chimney pieces carved by Westmacott, plasterwork created by Rose, scagliola columns and pilasters created by Bartoli.

Highlights of a tour of Castle Coole are the magnificent state rooms with their sumptuous Regency furnishings. These include the State Bedroom said to have been prepared for a visit by George IV in 1821.

The surrounding estate is a fitting setting for the house, with parkland, Lough Coole and extensive woods.

Visitors may enjoy walks in the grounds and also see the Grand Yard, the Servants’ Tunnel, the recently restored Ice House, the dairy, stables, laundry house and display room which includes the Belmore Private Coach.

A major stonework restoration programme was completed in 1988 after seven years of work. Her Majesty, the Queen Mother, re-opened Castle Coole to the public.

Castle Coole is within easy reach of two other National Trust properties in County Fermanagh – Florence Court and Crom Estate.

 

Crom Estate 

On the shores of the Upper Lough Erne in County Fermanagh lies one of the most important nature conservation sites owned by the National Trust – Crom Estate.

The 1,900 acre estate includes the largest surviving area of oak woodland in Northern Ireland and one of the most important and least spoilt freshwater habitats.

The wealth of wildlife at Crom is exemplified by the presence of two rare butterflies – the purple hair-streak and wood white, the elusive pine marten and the largest herony in Ireland.

There are many fine old buildings which enhance the landscape including the ruins of The Old Castle, Chrchton Tower and Crom Church. The 19th century castle is private and not open to the public.

A Visitor Centre houses an exhibition on the history and wildlife of the estate, lecture room, the Little Orchard Tea Room, a small shop & slipway. Boat hire and overnight bird and mammal watching hide can be arranged through the Visitor Centre. Day tickets for coarse fishing are available.

Enniskillen Castle 

Nestled amid Fermanagh’s Lakelands on the banks of the picturesque River Erne you will find Enniskillen Castle. 

This fine castle, once the home of the Gaelic Maguire chieftains, represents an important part of Fermanagh’s rich history and heritage.

Enniskillen Castle presents an array of 19th century barracks buildings surrounding the Medieval Castle Keep; to the south with its distinctive turrets is the 17th century Watergate and to the east is the Heritage Centre built in 1992.

Throughout the 16th century the junior branch of the Maguire’s ruled Fermanagh from Enniskillen Castle, their stronghold being captured and retaken many times by the O’Donnell’s, O’Neill’s and the English.

The Heritage Centre exhibits the collections of the County Museum in award winning displays enhanced by audio visual programmes about Fermanagh’s history, wildlife and landscapes. There are also special exhibitions throughout the year.

On view at Enniskillen Castle are the Heritage Centre, the Castle Keep, Watergate and the Arcaded Barracks.

The Heritage Centre:

Award winning displays and special exhibition programme
Audio visual theatre with induction loop for the partially deaf
Gift and book shop; literature in several languages
Children’s activity corner
Refreshments
Adjacent carpark; access and toilet for wheelchair user

The Castle Keep: in origin a 15th century Maguire stronghold, later a military barracks, now housing:

The Museum of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers with displays spanning the history of the famous regiment from 1689 to 1968 Displays about the castle

The Watergate: a twin-turreted building added to the outer walls of the castle in the early 17th century.

The Arcaded Barracks: displays focusing on Fermanagh’s archaeological and historic monuments.

 

Family Fun 

Bear Essentials 

One of our closest attractions. Here Anke & her family specialize in famous and Irish made bears. 

The shop is a treasure trove to the lover of bears. The Silver Bear Centre provides classes to “Build you Bear Family and School workshops” all year round. The Teddy Bear Hospital also operated here. 

 

Cavan Adventure Centre (Cavan Canoe)

Established since 2008 Cavan Adventure Centre supplies numerous land and water based activities suitable for all ages – from team building activities, school tours, summer camps and specialised tours. 

Experience action packed adventure in one of Ireland’s most spectacular landscapes. 

From various naturally beautiful kayak and bike trails to a Splashtastic Waterpark, Cavan Adventure Centre is the beating heart of unforgettable outdoor fun. 

 

Erica Fairy Forest 

It’s a magical Fairy Forest dedicated to the memory of Ericia in 2016. 

A magical place of letting go, seeing the inner child and kindness, awakening your true self. 

A child’s paradise.

 

Carafin Lodge 

Carafin is located just 30 minutes from Bawnboy. 

Here your family can have a fantastic day out on Water Bikes working on pedal power, so easy to use.

Pedal Boats can seat a family of 4, a really great day of fun. 

 

Belturbet Day Boat Hire 

Hire a self-drive day boats from the Belturbet marina. Cruise the sheltered Erne, Finn and Woodford Rivers, visit the historic Crom estate or Castle Saunderson or take a trip to Ballyconnell along the Shannon Erne waterway.

Available March to October 9.30am until 4.30pm only.

All tuition, safety and navigation and fuel included. Fishing rods available on request subject to availability

 

The Share Centre 

Located 30 minutes’ drive from Bawnboy is The Share Centre, Lisnaskea where you can take advantage of the water activities. From Kayaking to stand up paddle board, sail and even wind surf all with the help of trained staff. 

Try the banana boat or the new water park. 

Lough Key Forest & Activity Park – Boda Borg (60 minutes drive)

The innovative, Weather Independent Boda Borg is a Swedish concept unique to Ireland and is challenging for both adults and children.

Once you enter the two story Boda Borg only teamwork, ingenuity, trial and error and skills you probably didn’t know you have will allow you to progress through its 47 rooms! It contains fun-filled activities, imaginative puzzles and enjoyable tasks but no instructions.

Every adventure starts in your own mind… new paths are explored… together… with curiosity, laughter and excitement.

Will you and your team be one of the few to crack the Boda Borg?

 

Glenview Folk Museum

The Glenview Folk Museum is located just outside Ballinamore in Co. Leitrim and is owned and ran by the Kennedy Family. 

The Museum was set up in the year 2000 as it was identified that Ireland was losing its heritage and true identity. The Kennedys recognised the importance of preserving the past for the future.

The Museum has a private indoor collection of more than 7,000 antique, historical and novel items ranging from pre – Famine Ireland to the recent past. There is also an impressive array of farm yard equipment, a collection of horse drawn agricultural machinery and a thresher.

The tools and all equipment on display show the skill and ingenuity of the designers and builders of early industrial and farming equipment.

The ‘street scene’ has a number of reconstructed shops and a pub, all of them stocked with an assortment of products and equipped as they would have been in the past.

The Glenview Collection includes a fully restored travelling shop and an extensive array of household equipment and furniture, as well as noteworthy coins, paper, medals and military regalia.

 

The Shed Distillery & Visitor Centre

On the foothills of Sliabh an Iarainn in Drumshanbo Co Leitrim you will find this hidden gem. 

It is an authentic distillery using traditional methods such as gleaming copper pots & column stills. 

The Shed Distillery tour brings visitors on the very special journey behind the creation of Connacht’s first whiskey for 105 years, and on a trip into the epicentre of the distillery to witness the slow hand-distillation of premier ‘Grand Cru’ Irish whiskey and Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin.

Kingfisher Cycle Trail 

This cycle trail is the first long distance cycle trails in Ireland and follows minor country roads through the counties of Cavan, Fermanagh, Monaghan, Donegal & Leitrim. 

The trail naturally falls into two main loops, so it can be cycled as two separate routes or as one continuous figure of eight. 

The scenery is always beautiful and often spectacular, with wonderful panoramas over Upper and Lower Lough Erne, Lough MacNean and Lough Allen, opening out from many vantage points along the way. 

 

Arts 

Solas Art Gallery 

This Gallery is an artist led, not for profit gallery space in Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim. 

The Gallery initiative first began between Leitrim County Council Arts Office and the Ballinamore Community Arts Group (BCAG), as it first opened its doors on 20th July 2007. 

The main aim of Solas Art Gallery is to promote genres of art to the wider local community, by bringing an awareness of art to the public and making exhibition space accessible to all emerging and recognized artists, both full time and part time. 

The upstairs gallery space consists of two large adjoining rooms with white washed walls and wooden floor, with a further two rooms up another stair. This offers ample space for larger exhibitions, additional installations and artists’ workshops also.

Solas Art Gallery hosts three group exhibitions a year, inclusive of a junior exhibition, solo and joint solo exhibitions. Our extensive calendar of events equates to twelve official openings. Other annual activities include our ‘invited national or international artist’ to exhibit their work, innovative art endeavors for National Drawing Day and a variety of invigorating performance arts for Culture Night. As a community led gallery run on a membership basis, it gives member artists access to exhibit in three group shows and the opportunity to apply for a solo or joint solo show biannually. All artists exhibiting are fully supported and guided by the collective knowledge and experience of the voluntary committee members of the BCAG. Solas Art Gallery encourages its many members to participate in the many activities of the gallery, to collectively nurture the essence of this community based enterprise. Open Hours Tuesday – Saturday, 10.00am – 6.00pm

Ballyhugh Arts & Culture Centre 

Ballyhugh Arts and Cultural Centre is dedicated to the rich cultural heritage of West Cavan and runs courses and workshops in the arts, traditional crafts, Irish music and dance. 

Exhibitions, ceilís, concerts and lectures are held all year round. The centre also houses a unique collection of artefacts and local photographs. 

Festivities take place on Midsummer’s Night 21st June and for the ‘Lughnasa Festival’ in July every year. Ballyhugh is located a 20 minute drive from Bawnboy

 

Golf 

PGA National Ireland Slieve Russell 

PGA Ireland Slieve Russell is one of the worlds designated resort in golf, with its acclaimed 18-hole championship curse and 9hole “National Academy” course. 

Teaching programmes and golf schools catering for all ages are available. 

Blacklion 

Black Lion Golf Club was founded in 1948 and designed by the legendry Eddie Hackett, located on the shores of Loch MacNean.

The lake comes into play on the 2nd 3rd and 5th holes. Blacklion with its excellent drainage makes it playable all year round.

Blacklion Golf Club is a beautiful 9hole parkland course established in 1962, with coppices of woodland and mature trees. 

The lake comes into play on four holes and there are some magnificent views of Lough MacNean, its islands and surrounding hills. It has been described as one of the best maintained nine-hole courses in Ireland, and one of the most scenic.
Facilities include a clubhouse with trolley hire, chipping/putting practice area, changing rooms.

Belturbet 

Belturbet Golf Club was founded in 1948 and designed by the late great Eddie Hackett he who has left his mark on so many golf courses the length and breathe of Ireland. 

It is a little gem of a 9-hole Parkland course tucked away in this corner of Co. Cavan. 

Measuring only 5,347 yards with a Par 68 and a standard scratch of three better than Par it still requires respect and careful club selection. The ladies course measure 4,768 yards with a Par 68 and a SSS to match. 

There are some stunning views of the surrounding countryside and pleasant day’s golf is assured to all who visit.

 

Ballinamore 

Ballinamore Golf Club was founded in 1941 and redesigned by Dr. Arthur Spring in 1996, as since established itself as one of the finest 9-hole courses in the country. 

Since its redevelopment Ballinamore has proved popular with locals and many visitors.

Situated in a quite clearing of tree-lined hills that occupy the area and along Shannon-Erne canal, which has to be crossed first tee. 

There is a spacious car park adjacent to the clubhouse. Club provides for and welcomes all ages. There always good atmosphere at Ballinamore, especially during open events when everyone keen play.

Cavan

Cavan is a long established Parkland Course, founded in 1894 and its present location since 1920. The maturity of the course is evident as soon you drive gates.

As well as the trees, some of them centuries old, club is famous for its numerous rhododendron bushes scattered throughout Course. While pleasing to eye, foliage provides tricky hazards hopeful golfer. 

The 179 meters 10th index 11 is a favourite for many of the club players. This testing Par 3 offers challenging tee shot from front clubhouse to an undulating green under shadow ancient Chestnut Tree.

On a fine sunlit afternoon, the view from clubhouse is spectacular with fairways framed by mature trees and rolling hills of Cavan. 

 

Equestrian 

Cavan Equestrian Centre

Specializing in International Sales. Also stages weekly show jumping and international events.

The superb facilities include – 450 permanent stables, 3 indoor, 2 outdoor all weather arena & 3 grass arenas.

 

Drumcoura City 

Drumcoura City has an Equestrian Centre specialising in Western Horse Riding.  It has the largest covered arena in Leitrim, two outdoor arenas, horse riding trails, an archery range, an outdoor tennis court and a jetty for fishing on Drumcoura Lake. 

If you have ever dreamed about riding an American Horse like the ones in the Western films, this is the place for you. Even beginners will learn western riding with a few 

Drumcoura City is the Home of the COWBOYS AND HEROES COUNTRY MUSIC AND AMERICANA FESTIVAL on June Bank Holiday Weekend. 

Fenagh Abbey is one of the oldest monastic sites in Ireland, believed to date back to the earliest period of Celtic monasticism. 

The founder was St. Caillin, thought to have arrived in Fenagh from Dunmore in Country Galway in the 5th century (according to the Book of Fenagh). 

The Abbey had a monastic school and was “celebrated for its divinity school, which was resorted to by students from every part of Europe”.

The Abbey has (among other features) an east window of unusual design and a relief-carved 17th-century penal cross. A number of standing stones in the vicinity represent the petrified bodies of druids who tried to expel St. Caillin from Fenagh. There are a number of other prehistoric remains located in or near the village. A portal tomb at the north of the village is said to be the burial place of King Conall Gulban. Nineteen Gaelic kings are said to be buried in the graveyard. There was also a divinity school at Fenagh. It is believed that community life continued until 1652, when Cromwellian soldiers sacked it. It was damaged by cannon fire during the Williamite wars in 1690, and the last service was said in 1729. The site is on the northern shore of Fenagh Lough.

 

The Book of Fenagh was completed at the monastery in 1516, and a copy is now kept at the Royal Irish Academy. It was written in Irish, and contains verse and prose of the “life” of St Caillin of Fenagh transcribed and translated from the, now lost, Old Book of St. Caillin. The original Old Book of St. Caillin apparently “only contained prose” but the Book of Fenagh / Leabar Chaillín / Leabar Fidhnacha of 1516, contained both prose and verse. Some poems relevant to the politics of 11th – 13th century Tyrconnell, are thought to date from an earlier period than the rest of the manuscript.

 

The Shannon Pot  

As the surface rising of Ireland’s longest river, the Shannon Pot’s fame can be traced back to the legendary Finn MacCool and the Fianna, the great warriors of Irish mythology.  

Legend 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. The Shannon Pot is located along the Blacklion to Glangevlin Road (R206) in West County Cavan and is marked by brown tourist directional signage. The site provides ample parking, a children’s play area and a picnic area. Interpretation is available both within the car park and at the Shannon Pot itself. The Shannon Pot is along the Cavan Way, a long distance walking route that starts at Blacklion and ends in Dowra.

 

Castles, Houses & Gardens

Jampa Ling – Tibetan Buddhist Mediation Centre 

Jampa Ling is a meditation and retreat centre situated on a beautiful nineteenth century estate in County Cavan, Ireland. 

We are extremely fortunate to have His Holiness the Dalai Lama as our patron for over 25 years.

Jampa Ling was established in 1990 under the spiritual direction of Venerable Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche, who is a full-time resident here. The Centre is located on nineteen acres of land which include a mature birch forest and views of the spectacular Cuilcagh Mountains. The words ‘Jampa’ and ‘Ling’ together mean ‘Place of Loving-Kindness’, and Jampa Ling is indeed a place of blessing, open to everyone, of all faiths and none.

Aside from organised Buddhist teachings and meditation training, people come to Jampa Ling just to enjoy its peaceful ambience and beautiful natural surroundings – a perfect environment for meditation and relaxation.

The two fundamental elements of Tibetan Buddhism are compassion and wisdom. Developing these qualities improves every aspect of life and ultimately brings the freedom of enlightenment with the capacity to help others effectively. Within that context, and under the guidance of Ven. Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche, our aims here at Jampa Ling are:

To preserve the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and culture through teaching meditation and practice.

To work for peaceful co-existence between all living beings.

To create a meditative and educational environment in which people can find peace and loving-kindness.

To promote interfaith dialogue at a deep spiritual level and in the context of the work for harmony on this island.

To encourage the conservation of the earth’s natural resources and to develop an awareness of the oneness and interdependence of existence.

Castle Saunderson 

Castle Saunderson Demesne – Castle Trail

Located on the border between Cavan and Fermanagh, in the heart of the Cuilcagh Lakeland Geopark. 

The story of Castle Saunderson is marked by fire and blood, conquest and division and finally, peace, reconciliation and multi-culturalism, 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 Sanderson’s, 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.

While Col. Sanderson’s legacy has largely been forgotten, there is little doubt that he was a giant of 19th century Irish and British politics, and it hoped that this phase one investment in Castle Saunderson will attract visitors to the area, while acknowledging this family’s fascinating story, which takes in Brian Boru, William of Orange, and even infamous Nazi war criminals.

This exciting new addition to the Cavan tourism offering will provide overseas visitors with yet another reason to visit Cavan. The Castle is open from 9am – 5pm, Monday – Sunday. 

The entrance to Castle Saunderson is shared with Castle Saunderson International Scouting Centre, located on the N54 just outside Cloverhill and Belturbet and only 18km from Cavan town.

 

Florencecourt House & Gardens   

Is a National trust property just 20 minutes from Bawnboy, Florence Court is romantically named after the wife of Sir John Cole who first built a house on the spectacular site in the early 18th century. 

The present Palladian style house was probably built by his son John, afterwards the 1st Lord Mount Florence.

The wings and Pavilion were added to the mid-18th century block around 1770 by Wm Cole, 1st Earl of Enniskillen and may have been designed by Davis Ducart. Disaster struck Florence Court in 1955 when the main building was virtually gutted by fire.

The rest of the house and the striking plasterwork after the manner of Robert West has been meticulously restored by the National Trust. Family pictures and historic items owned by the 6th Earl of Enniskillen have been returned to Florence Court in accordance with his wishes, and are on display in the house.

Florence Court is well known to gardeners as the home of the Irish Yew, Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’, which is now a feature of gardens throughout the world. The original tree, discovered in about 1760, can still be seen on the fringe of Cottage Wood to the south-east of the house. 

Castle Coole 

On the outskirts of Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh stands Castle Coole, the family home of the Earls of Belmore and one of the treasures of the National Trust.

Designed by James Wyatt, this magnificent neo-classical house took ten years to build. It was completed in 1798.

The interior of the house was created by some of the leading craftsmen of the late 18th century with chimney pieces carved by Westmacott, plasterwork created by Rose, scagliola columns and pilasters created by Bartoli.

Highlights of a tour of Castle Coole are the magnificent state rooms with their sumptuous Regency furnishings. These include the State Bedroom said to have been prepared for a visit by George IV in 1821.

The surrounding estate is a fitting setting for the house, with parkland, Lough Coole and extensive woods.

Visitors may enjoy walks in the grounds and also see the Grand Yard, the Servants’ Tunnel, the recently restored Ice House, the dairy, stables, laundry house and display room which includes the Belmore Private Coach.

A major stonework restoration programme was completed in 1988 after seven years of work. Her Majesty, the Queen Mother, re-opened Castle Coole to the public.

Castle Coole is within easy reach of two other National Trust properties in County Fermanagh – Florence Court and Crom Estate.

 

Crom Estate 

On the shores of the Upper Lough Erne in County Fermanagh lies one of the most important nature conservation sites owned by the National Trust – Crom Estate.

The 1,900 acre estate includes the largest surviving area of oak woodland in Northern Ireland and one of the most important and least spoilt freshwater habitats.

The wealth of wildlife at Crom is exemplified by the presence of two rare butterflies – the purple hair-streak and wood white, the elusive pine marten and the largest herony in Ireland.

There are many fine old buildings which enhance the landscape including the ruins of The Old Castle, Chrchton Tower and Crom Church. The 19th century castle is private and not open to the public.

A Visitor Centre houses an exhibition on the history and wildlife of the estate, lecture room, the Little Orchard Tea Room, a small shop & slipway. Boat hire and overnight bird and mammal watching hide can be arranged through the Visitor Centre. Day tickets for coarse fishing are available.

Enniskillen Castle 

Nestled amid Fermanagh’s Lakelands on the banks of the picturesque River Erne you will find Enniskillen Castle. 

This fine castle, once the home of the Gaelic Maguire chieftains, represents an important part of Fermanagh’s rich history and heritage.

Enniskillen Castle presents an array of 19th century barracks buildings surrounding the Medieval Castle Keep; to the south with its distinctive turrets is the 17th century Watergate and to the east is the Heritage Centre built in 1992.

Throughout the 16th century the junior branch of the Maguire’s ruled Fermanagh from Enniskillen Castle, their stronghold being captured and retaken many times by the O’Donnell’s, O’Neill’s and the English.

The Heritage Centre exhibits the collections of the County Museum in award winning displays enhanced by audio visual programmes about Fermanagh’s history, wildlife and landscapes. There are also special exhibitions throughout the year.

On view at Enniskillen Castle are the Heritage Centre, the Castle Keep, Watergate and the Arcaded Barracks.

 

The Heritage Centre:

Award winning displays and special exhibition programme
Audio visual theatre with induction loop for the partially deaf
Gift and book shop; literature in several languages
Children’s activity corner
Refreshments
Adjacent carpark; access and toilet for wheelchair user

The Castle Keep: in origin a 15th century Maguire stronghold, later a military barracks, now housing:

The Museum of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers with displays spanning the history of the famous regiment from 1689 to 1968 Displays about the castle

The Watergate: a twin-turreted building added to the outer walls of the castle in the early 17th century.

The Arcaded Barracks: displays focusing on Fermanagh’s archaeological and historic monuments.

 

Family Fun 

Bear Essentials 

One of our closest attractions. Here Anke & her family specialize in famous and Irish made bears. 

The shop is a treasure trove to the lover of bears. The Silver Bear Centre provides classes to “Build you Bear Family and School workshops” all year round. The Teddy Bear Hospital also operated here. 

 

Cavan Adventure Centre (Cavan Canoe)

Established since 2008 Cavan Adventure Centre supplies numerous land and water based activities suitable for all ages – from team building activities, school tours, summer camps and specialised tours. 

Experience action packed adventure in one of Ireland’s most spectacular landscapes. 

From various naturally beautiful kayak and bike trails to a Splashtastic Waterpark, Cavan Adventure Centre is the beating heart of unforgettable outdoor fun. 

 

Erica Fairy Forest  

It’s a magical Fairy Forest dedicated to the memory of Ericia in 2016. 

A magical place of letting go, seeing the inner child and kindness, awakening your true self. 

A child’s paradise.

 

Carafin Lodge  

Carafin is located just 30 minutes from Bawnboy. 

Here your family can have a fantastic day out on Water Bikes working on pedal power, so easy to use.

Pedal Boats can seat a family of 4, a really great day of fun. 

 

Belturbet Day Boat Hire 

Hire a self-drive day boats from the Belturbet marina. Cruise the sheltered Erne, Finn and Woodford Rivers, visit the historic Crom estate or Castle Saunderson or take a trip to Ballyconnell along the Shannon Erne waterway. 

Available March to October 9.30am until 4.30pm only.

All tuition, safety and navigation and fuel included. Fishing rods available on request subject to availability

 

The Share Centre  

Located 30 minutes’ drive from Bawnboy is The Share Centre, Lisnaskea where you can take advantage of the water activities. From Kayaking to stand up paddle board, sail and even wind surf all with the help of trained staff. 

Try the banana boat or the new water park. 

Lough Key Forest & Activity Park – Boda Borg (60 minutes drive)

The innovative, Weather Independent Boda Borg is a Swedish concept unique to Ireland and is challenging for both adults and children.

Once you enter the two story Boda Borg only teamwork, ingenuity, trial and error and skills you probably didn’t know you have will allow you to progress through its 47 rooms! It contains fun-filled activities, imaginative puzzles and enjoyable tasks but no instructions.

Every adventure starts in your own mind… new paths are explored… together… with curiosity, laughter and excitement.

Will you and your team be one of the few to crack the Boda Borg? 

Glenview Folk Museum 

The Glenview Folk Museum is located just outside Ballinamore in Co. Leitrim and is owned and ran by the Kennedy Family. 

The Museum was set up in the year 2000 as it was identified that Ireland was losing its heritage and true identity. The Kennedys recognised the importance of preserving the past for the future.

The Museum has a private indoor collection of more than 7,000 antique, historical and novel items ranging from pre – Famine Ireland to the recent past. There is also an impressive array of farm yard equipment, a collection of horse drawn agricultural machinery and a thresher.

The tools and all equipment on display show the skill and ingenuity of the designers and builders of early industrial and farming equipment.

The ‘street scene’ has a number of reconstructed shops and a pub, all of them stocked with an assortment of products and equipped as they would have been in the past.

The Glenview Collection includes a fully restored travelling shop and an extensive array of household equipment and furniture, as well as noteworthy coins, paper, medals and military regalia.

GunPowder Gin:The Shed Distillery & Visitor Centre

On the foothills of Sliabh an Iarainn in Drumshanbo Co Leitrim you will find this hidden gem. 

It is an authentic distillery using traditional methods such as gleaming copper pots & column stills. 

The Shed Distillery tour brings visitors on the very special journey behind the creation of Connacht’s first whiskey for 105 years, and on a trip into the epicentre of the distillery to witness the slow hand-distillation of premier ‘Grand Cru’ Irish whiskey and Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin.

 

Kingfisher Cycle Trail 

This cycle trail is the first long distance cycle trails in Ireland and follows minor country roads through the counties of Cavan, Fermanagh, Monaghan, Donegal & Leitrim. 

The trail naturally falls into two main loops, so it can be cycled as two separate routes or as one continuous figure of eight. 

The scenery is always beautiful and often spectacular, with wonderful panoramas over Upper and Lower Lough Erne, Lough MacNean and Lough Allen, opening out from many vantage points along the way. 

 

Arts  

Solas Art Gallery 

This Gallery is an artist led, not for profit gallery space in Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim. 

The Gallery initiative first began between Leitrim County Council Arts Office and the Ballinamore Community Arts Group (BCAG), as it first opened its doors on 20th July 2007. 

The main aim of Solas Art Gallery is to promote genres of art to the wider local community, by bringing an awareness of art to the public and making exhibition space accessible to all emerging and recognized artists, both full time and part time. 

The upstairs gallery space consists of two large adjoining rooms with white washed walls and wooden floor, with a further two rooms up another stair. This offers ample space for larger exhibitions, additional installations and artists’ workshops also.

 

Solas Art Gallery hosts three group exhibitions a year, inclusive of a junior exhibition, solo and joint solo exhibitions. Our extensive calendar of events equates to twelve official openings. Other annual activities include our ‘invited national or international artist’ to exhibit their work, innovative art endeavors for National Drawing Day and a variety of invigorating performance arts for Culture Night. As a community led gallery run on a membership basis, it gives member artists access to exhibit in three group shows and the opportunity to apply for a solo or joint solo show biannually. All artists exhibiting are fully supported and guided by the collective knowledge and experience of the voluntary committee members of the BCAG. Solas Art Gallery encourages its many members to participate in the many activities of the gallery, to collectively nurture the essence of this community based enterprise. Open Hours Tuesday – Saturday, 10.00am – 6.00pm

 

Ballyhugh Arts & Culture Centre 

Ballyhugh Arts and Cultural Centre is dedicated to the rich cultural heritage of West Cavan and runs courses and workshops in the arts, traditional crafts, Irish music and dance. 

Exhibitions, ceilís, concerts and lectures are held all year round. The centre also houses a unique collection of artefacts and local photographs. 

Festivities take place on Midsummer’s Night 21st June and for the ‘Lughnasa Festival’ in July every year. Ballyhugh is located a 20 minute drive from Bawnboy

 

Golf 

PGA National Ireland Slieve Russell  

PGA Ireland Slieve Russell is one of the worlds designated resort in golf, with its acclaimed 18-hole championship curse and 9hole “National Academy” course. 

Teaching programmes and golf schools catering for all ages are available.  

 

Blacklion  

Black Lion Golf Club was founded in 1948 and designed by the legendry Eddie Hackett, located on the shores of Loch MacNean.

The lake comes into play on the 2nd 3rd and 5th holes. Blacklion with its excellent drainage makes it playable all year round.

Blacklion Golf Club is a beautiful 9hole parkland course established in 1962, with coppices of woodland and mature trees. 

The lake comes into play on four holes and there are some magnificent views of Lough MacNean, its islands and surrounding hills. It has been described as one of the best maintained nine-hole courses in Ireland, and one of the most scenic.
Facilities include a clubhouse with trolley hire, chipping/putting practice area, changing rooms.

 

Belturbet  

Belturbet Golf Club was founded in 1948 and designed by the late great Eddie Hackett he who has left his mark on so many golf courses the length and breathe of Ireland. 

It is a little gem of a 9-hole Parkland course tucked away in this corner of Co. Cavan. 

Measuring only 5,347 yards with a Par 68 and a standard scratch of three better than Par it still requires respect and careful club selection. The ladies course measure 4,768 yards with a Par 68 and a SSS to match. 

There are some stunning views of the surrounding countryside and pleasant day’s golf is assured to all who visit.

 

Ballinamore  

Ballinamore Golf Club was founded in 1941 and redesigned by Dr. Arthur Spring in 1996, as since established itself as one of the finest 9-hole courses in the country. 

Since its redevelopment Ballinamore has proved popular with locals and many visitors.

Situated in a quite clearing of tree-lined hills that occupy the area and along Shannon-Erne canal, which has to be crossed first tee. 

There is a spacious car park adjacent to the clubhouse. Club provides for and welcomes all ages. There always good atmosphere at Ballinamore, especially during open events when everyone keen play.

 

Cavan

Cavan is a long established Parkland Course, founded in 1894 and its present location since 1920. The maturity of the course is evident as soon you drive gates.

As well as the trees, some of them centuries old, club is famous for its numerous rhododendron bushes scattered throughout Course. While pleasing to eye, foliage provides tricky hazards hopeful golfer. 

The 179 meters 10th index 11 is a favourite for many of the club players. This testing Par 3 offers challenging tee shot from front clubhouse to an undulating green under shadow ancient Chestnut Tree.

On a fine sunlit afternoon, the view from clubhouse is spectacular with fairways framed by mature trees and rolling hills of Cavan.  

 

Equestrian 

Cavan Equestrian Centre

Specializing in International Sales. Also stages weekly show jumping and international events. 

The superb facilities include – 450 permanent stables, 3 indoor, 2 outdoor all weather arena & 3 grass arenas.

 

Drumcoura City  

Drumcoura City has an Equestrian Centre specialising in Western Horse Riding.  It has the largest covered arena in Leitrim, two outdoor arenas, horse riding trails, an archery range, an outdoor tennis court and a jetty for fishing on Drumcoura Lake. 

If you have ever dreamed about riding an American Horse like the ones in the Western films, this is the place for you. Even beginners will learn western riding with a few 

Drumcoura City is the Home of the COWBOYS AND HEROES COUNTRY MUSIC AND AMERICANA FESTIVAL on June Bank Holiday Weekend. 

 

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Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands

by | Nov 3, 2017