Stretch your legs on island walks, uncover some bear necessities or go underground on a boat trip to remember. The family fun starts here.
If you’re seeking a family-friendly, back-to-nature break, the Shannon-Erne Waterway is just the ticket. Think long days on the water and evenings spent enjoying relaxed dinners in lakeside restaurants. Imagine hours spent exploring rolling green fields, riverside trails and hedgerow-lined lanes. Discover tales of battles and betrayals in romantic castles, kayak over rippling waters, and head underground for some subterranean adventure. Take off on a canoeing adventure in the company of curious swans or visit deserted islands that belie a turbulent past. Enjoy walks along one of the Shannon-Erne Blueway Trails next to inky blue waters and past stony locks; or spend the day getting outdoors and dirty with non-stop action that takes in everything from spacehoppers to archery. This is a carefree part of the island, where you can do as much or as little as you want – and it’s all yours to enjoy.
Located in Bawnboy – a small village at the base of Slieve Rushen – Bear Essentials and its Silver Bear Centre is perfect for both the young and the young at heart. With workshops, events and crafts, a showcase of old and new teddy bears and even a teddy bear hospital, this is a great little spot that celebrates all things furry.
Motte and Bailey, Belturbet
Children learn about motte and bailey structures in school, but seeing one for real is an excellent way to bring history to life, and casts the mind back to a time when Belturbet had real strategic importance. Walk over to Turbet Island, and you can see the grassy remains of this 13th century defensive fortification, which sat at an important river crossing. Turbet Island also ripples with fascinating archaeological heritage – the first ever woolly mammoth remains in Europe were found right here and are now housed in the National Museum in Dublin.
Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark
The coolest thing about the underground wonderland that is Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark? It's got to be the boat journey along the underground river. This place has a major wow factor for kids: there are rivers, waterfalls, winding passages and huge chambers filled with magical stalagmites and stalactites. The tour lasts about 75 minutes and is suitable for all ages, although bear in mind that it finishes with a climb up 154 continuous steps to the exit.
Clough Oughter Castle
Jump on a boat tour with the Cavan Adventure Centre and you'll be whisked across the waters to Clough Oughter Castle. This picturesque castle sits on a small island in the middle of Lough Oughter and was once part of the historic kingdom of Breifne. It has a fascinating past that involves clashes between rival Gaelic clans and, more fascinatingly, its use as an island fortress. Harsh conditions, brutal cold and isolation would have made it a fearsome place to be locked up, despite the peaceful nature of the island today.
Riversdale J Stables
The country roads of County Cavan are ideal places to go for an afternoon horse trekking, and it's a great way to experience the beautiful surrounding countryside. Looking for adult or children's lessons? Riversdale J Stables is a great spot to source a bit of tuition while they also offer hacks that bring you out into the gorgeous rural landscape.