Ireland is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It's historical background, famous landmarks and vibrant culture are all major attractions. Also, lets be honest, we all have a long lost relative from the Emerald Isle. In truth however, many tourists limit themselves to Dublin City and possibly a visit down South to Cork and Kerry to see the famous scenery on offer. These are indeed very tourist friendly areas but why not go for somewhere completely different to the norm. Why not visit the beautiful countryside of County Cavan. It will give you a true view of the Irish way of living.
As soon as you tell an Irish person you're going to Cavan you will get a funny look or three. The old jokes go that if you're from the North then you only every go through Cavan to get to Dublin and if you're from the South you only go through it to get to Belfast. Well this is just an added bonus of staying in Cavan isn't it? It is only an hour's drive to Dublin and a two hour drive to Belfast. Why not take a day trip to both? This is something that cannot really be done from anywhere else.
My advice would be to set up base in the sleepy village of Virginia, County Cavan. With a population of fewer than 2,000 people, Virginia is quiet enough for those not wanting too much hustle and bustle but still has heaps of amenities on offer. Why not stay in the picturesque Park Hotel, which is located on the shores of the beautiful Lough Ramor. It also has the Virginia Forrest as a backdrop with miles and miles of wonderful Forrest walks to explore. The Park Hotel also offers free use of Virginia Golf Course, a short but tricky 9-hole course that hugs the shore of Lough Ramor. For the golfers among you, you are unlikely to require much more than a driver and 7 iron to reach most of the greens in two shots but if you get round the 9 holes in better than 5 over par I will be very impressed.
Virginia also has a great selection of bars where you can experience some traditional Irish craic (fun) and music. With over 12 bars to choose from you will be spoilt for choice. My recommendation is Matthew's Bar, which is located right in the heart of the village. It has a great selection of drinks, an authentic Irish interior and a friendly clientele. Matthew's has also been voted in the top 3 bars in Ireland for almost ten years now. If you visit at the weekends you might be lucky enough to come across some live music as well.
If fishing is your thing then look no further. People travel from miles around to fish the waters of the beautiful Lough Ramor. Trout fishing is probably most common with the Lough getting re-stocked on a regular basis. If you are wondering if it is safe for kiddies to fish don't worry. There are shallower waters and streams just off the main Lough where they can spin for Perch and you can still have a bird's eye view of them.
Whilst travelling up and down the West coast of Australia back in 2007 I came across a German male who was travelling alone. We got chatting about our respective countries and local areas. To my utter shock he had visited my hometown and the surrounding area with his brother a couple of years previous. He was very complementary about Cavan and its natives but there was one comment he made that has stuck with me and still makes me laugh. He said, "Driving in Cavan is like driving in a Rally." He said this with a smile that made me suspect he had enjoyed this aspect of Cavan thoroughly. Indeed the Cavan Roads are famous across the country for their rough surface, tight width and many bends. In truth they are not that bad although when someone that usually uses the Autobahn comes to visit I image it is a bit of a change. Don't worry about this however as the roads are very safe and the traffic volume is very low.
All in all Cavan and its surrounding area has a lot offer. Whether you use it as a base for your holiday or only visit on a day trip you're sure to enjoy the experience. If anyone has any questions then please leave a comment of send a message to my inbox and I will get back to you as soon as possible.