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Vibrant Ireland

Wonderful! The Cavan Burren & Keepers Arms Guesthouse

Cavan Burren; old walls & megalith The Calf House

The moss reclaims the wall of a farm abandoned in the 1950s, while in the left corner the prehistoric megalith ‘The Calf House’ or ‘Druid’s Chair’ stands tall

The thrill of discovering an amazing place little-known to the wider world is priceless.

I think I speak for many folk, Irish and International, when I say I had no idea that there is a Cavan Burren, nor that the surrounding areas are so charming!

cavan burren megalith Lady's Grave

The Lady’s Grave. There is possible rock art on some of the stones, tho’ experts are divided.

The Cavan Burren Forest is a place where you can see millions of years of history; geological formations so old you can barely comprehend the timespan, prehistoric megaliths that echo with tales of the Tuatha de Dannan and fairy-magic, and the remains of farms from ancient times up right up until the 1950s.

This spring a visitor centre and 5 walking trails are opening there, and an app will also be launched. I got a sneak-peek when This Is Cavan arranged for project manager Grainne to give me a tour.

Grainne was brilliant– she really is on fire for the Cavan Burren Forest Park and the whole team are dedicated to having the park & sights accessible for all whilst also being eco-friendly and sustainable. The afternoon I visited, the skies tipped out the rain, so our walk round was cut short– but that’s okay, it just means I’ve a fab excuse to go back for the Summer Solstice grand opening celebrations on 21 June!

 Going to this is a great idea for a daytrip or as part of a longer holiday!

Celebrate the Summer Solstice at Cavan Burren Park

Date: 21st June Time: 1pm – 6pm

Celebrate the Summer Solstice at Cavan Burren Park, Blacklion, co Cavan!  Inspiring and intriguing human history of West Cavan is on display– monuments, megalithic tombs, hut sites and pre-bog walls survive from prehistoric times and some are older than the pyramids. The festival on the 21st will see an exciting and packed programme of celebratory activities for all the family at Cavan Burren Park, with historic re-enactments, music, guided tours of the park and the new visitor centre, children’s activities, food stalls and lots more.

An exciting new visitor centre opens in Spring 2014 and will interpret the inspiring and intriguing human history of Cavan Burren Park. Visitors will have the opportunity on the 21st June to explore the new visitor centre and the new walking trails around the park. Burren is a very special place located in a breathtakingly beautiful part of Cavan. Visitors will be very pleasantly surprised as to what they will find there. Cavan Burren Park is in the heart of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.

For more info, phone  049 4378 614 or email :

West Cavan Charm


West Cavan is beautiful countryside full of lakes, hills, & the Breffni/Breifne mountains, and charming small villages. I stayed in one of them; Bawnboy (An Bábhún Buí) at the foot of Slieve Rushen. At The Keeper’s Arms you get the real Irish village experience- a welcoming guesthouse with pub where you’ll also find locals having a chat & a pint, as well as the warm hospitality of owners Sheila & Bryan. As I was still recovering from flu, I had a hot whiskey in their pub & then slept like a log in my country-cozy bedroom that night.

photo montage of The Keepers Arms, Cavan Ireland

Irish country charm & hospitality in spades at The Keeper’s Arms!

The morning dawned with birdsong, and I took advantage of the free wifi in my room to Tweet, too 🙂 I was the last one down to the big Irish breakfast because of my dawdling, and because it was the low-season, owner Sheila was doing all the food duties- cooking and serving. This meant, though, that we could have a good chat, and I’m glad we did.


Teddy Bears & more!

Sheila is a passionate advocate for the area, and you’ll learn lots about  the local gems from her. Plus, she has very engaging stories of village life 🙂 Sheila brought me for a spin while she did catering deliveries, pointing out the teddy bear heaven that is Bear Essentials as well as a lovely & unusual local church– it has by-gone era ‘parking spaces’ under the building for the carriages of wealthy folk! Shelia also shared about the local Workhouse and the hopes & plans of the village in restoring it. I totally see why folk who’ve been to The Keepers Arms rave about her when I mention that’s where I stayed!

Recommended for a slice of Irish village life!

I think that whether you’re visiting Ireland from abroad, or are living here & want a holiday that’s a nice slice of village life, Keepers Arms will fit the bill. There’s also loads to see in the wider area, and that’s exactly what I did. (Posts on that later.) Still, I’ll have to go back, as there is much I didn’t have time to see. I’ve really fallen for the Cavan & Fermanagh area and I highly recommend spending some of your Irish vacation time there!


Families! You may be interested in the Teddy Bear Adventure Walk

The Bear Essentials & Cavan Walking festival are doing a Teddy Bear Adventure Walk in Bawnboy on Sunday 5 May. You’ll ”Discover the History of Teddy Bears while walking through the beautiful surroundings of Bawnboy forest. This is a family event. If you bring small kids, this walk is suitable for off road buggies.” How fun is that!

The Cavan Walking Festival has over 30 guided walks & runs from 2-11 May, 2014. Be sure to go to the Cavan Burren Forest Park then, too! For in-depth information & the stories associated with the Cavan Burren, do have a look at

Note:  ThisIsCavan arranged my Cavan Burren tour and sponsored my overnight at The Keepers Arms. Being sponsored does not affect the truthfulness of what I write, and when there are problems somewhere I tell you, like I did in this post.

These photos are Instagram photos! Each Thursday, the hashtags #IGtravelthursday (& #IGTT on Twitter) show photos from peoples’ travels all around the world- local travels and far flung. Use the hashtag & join in! If you are a blogger, you can also join in with a blog featuring one of your trips/visits and your Instagram photos from it, or how you use Instagram to plan travels, like in Reeta’s post this week. Read the ins & outs of that here on SkimbacoLifestyle.

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Such mysterious looking places! I love that moss on the rocks, beautiful… 🙂

Yes, so mysterious! I look forward to going back when I’ve longer to explore & it’s not lashing rain 🙂

Looks so magical and surreal! I hope I get to visit someday soon 🙂

And the summer solstice would be a magical time to visit, Amy 🙂

Oh wow, such a beautiful place! Not sure why, but I’ve never really given Cavan a go… Clearly I should! 🙂

Oh yes, Satu- you won’t regret it. Do go! And Neven Maguire’s fab restaurant is in the village of Blacklion just outside of the Cavan Burren if you want to spoil yourself!

It sounds wonderful Susan, idyllic! Will have to plan a trip up there now 🙂

Defo, Dee! It is a treasure trove & not touristy at all- the proverbial hidden gem!

So pretty, looks so much like a place where our family would enjoy exploring!

I think so, Reeta, and what’d nice is that there are wooden walkways that make lots accessible for buggies, & wheelchairs

This is a great post Susan! Thank you for featuring our lovely county on your site. Its much underestimated and overlooked! This new burren visitor centre and trails will hopefully encourage more visitors to discover Cavan. I love living here and am always discovering something new.

You know, I must say how grateful I am to Joanne from This Is Cavan, because when I heard abt the Cavan Burren and asked her some questions she was so good to arrange a tour & the overnight. She also suggested other things she could arrange for me to see other things but I didn’t have time. She is a great asset, and really it is because of the work of This Is Cavan that I 1st heard of the Cavan Burren & then experienced west Cavan. I will be back because I so enjoyed the area, and I’m thrilled to be able to help spread the word 🙂

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