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County Cavan

County Cavan is a rural county, located in the ancient province of Ulster -- though it is not in Northern Ireland.

See: What is the difference between Ireland and Northern Ireland?

Lakes and hills abound in the Cavan. The "Shannon Pot" where the Shannon river begins, is located here, near where Cuilcagh Mountain reaches 2,188 feet towards the sky.

Cavan Town, the county's main urban centre, is a small but growing commercial area with a variety of welcoming pubs and shops, while still retaining its rural charm.

Cavan Highlights

  • Guests in Cavan enjoy the outdoors -- with angling, water sports, cruises, horse riding, golf, walking and cycling among the most popular and easily accessible activities
  • Two beautiful forest parks, Dun na Ri and Killykeen, offer abundant woodlands of varied species, streams and lakes, and a wide variety of birds, fish and animals to observe
  • Visitors can enjoy the views and explore castle ruins, forts and other sites of archeological interest interspersed throughout these wilderness enclaves
  • Indoors, guests can learn about traditional craftsmanship by touring and exploring the workings of Lifeforce Mill
  • Most prominent among medieval religious sites is the old monastery at Drumlane, which dates back to the 13th century and displays some very unusual ornamental features

History of Cavan

The Cavan area showcases the evidence of occupants dating back more than 5,000 years.

The county was visited by missionaries who began the work of converting the locals to Christianity sometime during the sixth century. During the Middle Ages, Cavan existed on the border between strong tribal chieftains and Anglo Normans, without being truly governed by either group.

English and Scottish settlers took up residence in the 1600s and proceeded to build towns and villages that flourished over the centuries, until the Famine struck in 1846, affecting the area profoundly.

The following decades witnessed a great deal of emigration. County Cavan natives moved away to America, Canada and other countries to find work and a more prosperous life.

Cavan Surnames

Popular surnames in County Cavan include

  • Brady
  • Dolan
  • Fitzpatrick
  • Gaffney
  • Mac Gowan
  • MacNulty
  • Maguire
  • Martin
  • Plunknett
  • Riley
  • Smith


Music Festival in Cavan. Image by Fleadh Cheoil


View Our Men's & Women's Aran Collection