“An Cabhan” is an old Irish word meaning “The Hollow” – and as so often in folklore, it really does say a lot about the place.
People, food, lakes, mountains and a certain serenity are here in spades and the County has a marvellous series of calming and mysterious waterways. Cavan is known as fishing country, and rightly so, its well-stocked waters have been attracting German, French and English anglers for decades, but there is, of course, more to Cavan than that.
The hills and mountains are alive with poetry and heritage, and none more so than mystical Cavan Burren Park near Blacklion in the West of the County. Here you’re free to enjoy a special undiscovered landscape which has evolved through the various ice ages. Take time in the Park’s information centre, which imaginatively displays Cavan Burren’s endless story or enjoy one of four marked walking trails (one of which is multi-access) through dramatic and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes.
If Cavan’s land and water is pure, its produce must be too. And this is a county with some of the finest food in Ireland. In recent years Cavan has begun to make a name for itself in culinary delights and the ‘Taste of Cavan Food Festival’ every August is the perfect showcase for a myriad of the country’s best food producers.
Another festival worth keeping an eye out for is the Cavan Walking Festival every May. The festival promises a week of varying trails, rambles and hikes all led by local trained guides who take the walker on a journey into the local heritage, geology and archaeology of the area in which you are walking.
If history is your thing, the new World War 1 Trench Experience at Cavan County Museum, in Ballyjamesduff is a must –see. Proving a winner with adults and kids, it’s the largest WW1 Trench exhibition Ireland or the UK and is a brilliant way to lose an afternoon and experience life in the trenches. The Trench is located to the back of the beautiful Georgian building that houses the museum, along with tea rooms and gift shop.
It also must be noted that County Cavan works hard on making the county accessible. Multi-access trails are in place across the county and key visitor attractions such as Cavan Burren Park and the Museum are designed with accessibility in mind. Cavan is also unique in Ireland in delivering online access guides to over 500 public buildings and spaces across the county (available at www.disabledgo.com).
These efforts have not gone unnoticed and the County has picked up two significant awards in recent years. Cavan town was the 2013 winner of the EDEN (EU Destination of Excellence) Award for Accessible Tourism and in 2014 the County won a World Responsible Tourism Award for work in this area. The local Chamber of Commerce and County Council have also worked with local businesses in 2014 to make Cavan town an ‘Age –Friendly Business Town’.
So all in all, Cavan is an exciting, enticing, mysterious and scenic county. One that must be explored at your leisure and one where you’re sure to receive a warm and friendly welcome. For information on County Cavan visit www.thisiscavan.ie