County Cavan
6 reviews
Grade Moderate
Length 21.7 km
Time 1 day
Format Linear
Ascent 330 m
Dogs Allowed No
Waymarking Yellow arrow on black background
Start Point
Finish Point
Nearest Town to Start Dowra
Grid Ref. G 991 267 / H 081 381
Lat. and Long. 54.18917, -8.01378 / 54.29153, -7.87559

While the topography of most of County Cavan in the northern midlands of Ireland is a post-glacial one of drumlins and lakes, the western part of the county terminates in the wall of the Cuilcagh Mountains, the lower western flanks of which spawn the longest river in these islands, the Shannon. The Cavan Way is a 26 km gentle linear walking route that progresses from the village of Dowra northwards by country paths and quiet roads to reach the magical Shannon Pot, where the great river rises. The route then ascends from the Shannon source into the limestone karst landscape of the northern Cuilcaghs before descending to the village of Blacklion. The terrain consists of mainly quiet roads, paths beside the infant Shannon and open moorland. The road sections at the beginning and near the Shannon Pot can be very busy, and the Shannon and uplands sections can be very wet and mucky. The views from the heights out over Lough Macnean to the north and the Cuilcagh to the south are wonderful. The total aggregate ascent on the route is 330 metres, including two short, steep ascents. There are options for overnight accommodation at both ends of the route, but public transport possibilities are only fair.

Trail Management

Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark, MacNean Resource Centre, Blacklion, County Cavan, F91 NWV7
Tel: 071 9853692
Email: info@cuilcaghlakelands.org


Car parking
At Start - on street in Dowra or in car park at Mart
At End - on street in Blacklion
pubs, accommodation nearby

14 kms or 61% of the Way follows local roads.
***Dogs not permitted on the Cavan Way***

Map Guides

Map Guides

The Cavan Way - West Cavan Community Council

OSI Maps

OSI Maps

Discovery Series Sheet 26
Public Transportation

Public Transportation

At Start: None At End: Express buses Check with Bus Eireann.

6 trail reviews
Write your own review of this trail

Liz from Leitrim

Really enjoyed this walk. We walked from Blacklion and are doing this as part of the Beara Breifni Way. The waymarking was excellent and the new stiles and bridges are great. Well done for making such a good job of them. Lovely views, lots of beautiful orchids and quiet roads made this a walk to remember. I would recommend it.

Jason from Cavan

Walked part of the Cavan way yesterday with a group of fifth years from Breifne College, Cavan. It was a very enjoyable walk along country roads fields up hill across the Burren landscape with the most majestic of views across the blanket bog covered mountains of the Cuilcagh range. It wasn't as well signposted as one might expect and one would need to do a bit of guess work as we went along. Definitely need for more signage to give total confidence to the unfamiliar along these parts. Sad that there's not a shop in Blacklion. But a beautiful day

Philip from Dublin

I ran most of this trail from Dawra this morning. The weather was grey and overcast with occasional light rain but pleasant temperatures around 12 - 16 C. Today was a Mart (market), day in Dawra and look out for this. Many cars and trucks park after 9am and you could easily get boxed in.

1st road section 1.5km is on a busy main road so watch out and walk toward oncoming traffic (on the left). Once you turn off nice country lanes and beautiful senary.

The section from 'Cashelban' is very wet and muddy trail. If hiking definitely wear waterproof hiking boots and poles are a MUST (hiking or running).

After the section (4 Km) there is back road until you turn off the R206 and go cross country passing the Shannon Pot. The surface is not so bad but steep section after crossing a wooden bridge and over a hill rejoining the road heading towards Cor Na Gaoithe. I continued on to have a look at the 'Cavan Burren Park' but did not actually see the trail markers for 'Tawnymakelly' which looks to be a really interesting section.

All in all really enjoyed the day. Hard going in some places with the ground, and certainly very tired and sore legs after running back to Dawra.


Hugh from Fermanagh

My wife and myself were on the Cavan Way yesterday. The off road section from the metal bridge over the Shannon (first crossing East of Dowra) to the foot bridge is very boggy. I would advise gaiters and poles as the fields are very rutted following grazing. Otherwise it's beautiful. Great walk through to the Shannon Pot.

Ivor from Down

I did the Cavan Way on 12 June, in a northerly direction – which kept the very best scenery, and the longest stretch of off-road walking, till the end. Though most of the walk is on public roads, the volume of traffic on these – even the R200 and R206 – was light. Waymarking throughout is very good. On some of the off-road sections the ground is rather soft in places. Most of the fields (though clearly used for grazing) were currently empty of cattle, and when cows were present they posed no difficulty.

Highlights for me included the sound of cuckoos, the flower-rich grassland, walking beside the Shannon, and the views of Lough Macnean Upper and Lower. I’d rate this as one of the finest walks I’ve ever done.


charles from Down

Beautiful mountainous trail of West Cavan. Stunning scenery.

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