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Lough Oughter Historical Tour

Butlers Bridge, Ballyhaise, Redhills, Belturbet, Milltown, Lough Oughter, Killeshandra, Arvagh, Gowna

Butlers Bridge was named after Stephen Butler, the founder of Belturbet, it’s site on the Annalee river, just before it enters Lough Erne. The Catholic Church in the village was designed in the early 1860’s by Cavan Architect William Hague.  It is one of his earliest works and noted for the marvelous feeling of lightness in the interior.

Ballyhaise Agricultural College has links to Leinster House (home of the Irish Parliament as Richard Cassels, an 18th Century architect, designed them both.  A beautiful located amenity park sits opposite the college on the banks of the River Annalee.  A visit to the Roman Catholic Church is also recommended.  This was once situated in Cavan Town, but was rebuilt here in the 1930/1940’s.  It was the former Cathedral Church of Kilmore.

The seven- arch bridge from Ballyhaise accesses Redhills.  The stone wall boundary of the Whyte Venables is all that remains of the 17th century estate. Redhills owes its name to the high iron content of the soil.  Iron was mined here from the late 17th century to the beginning of the 20th century. The village retains a timeless quality and was the location for the films “The Playboys” and “The Run of the Country”.  The local public houses display many photographs relating to these films.  Shane Connaghton the author of “A Border Station” and writer of the acclaimed screenplay “MY Left Foot” has strong links with the village.  Redhills Equestrian Centre is located just outside the village.

Belturbet on the banks of the River Erne was built by the Earl of Lanesborough in the 17th century.  It was an important trading centre, and it also had a garrison.  Much of the original fortifications are in good repair.  The town retains much of its original layout, with the main street leading to the square or diamond with all of the town’s important buildings.  The parish church was one of the first Anglican churches built in Ireland, some of it dates from the early 17th century.    A thriving angling town, Belturbet is an also an established base for cruiser hire.  Belturbet Railway Station built in 1885 has been renovated as a Railway Visitor Centre which tells the history of the Belturbet Railway and houses an interesting collection of railway mobelia.  An excellent example of a 12th century Anglo Norman Mote and Bailey can be viewed on Turbet Island.  Belturbet Golf Club is located on the Cavan Road.

In Milltown you will find the 12th century church and abbey of the Augustans in Drumlane The present buildings occupy the site of the earlier 6th century monastery founded by St. MonogueThe Round Tower, the only one in the Diocese of Kilmore now stands as a silent senital to the Viking invasion.  These remains are located between the tranquil lakes of Derrybrick and Drumlane.  An interesting feature of the Round Tower is the engraving of a cockerel on the north face, believed to symbolise the resurrection.

Clough Oughter Castle which is sited on an island in the middle of Lough Oughter is located close to Carratraw BridgeThe historic 12th century castle was built by the Anglo Normans when they tried to conquer the Cavan area, but was soon captured by the   O’Reilly Clan, the Irish Rulers of east Brefni, who used it as a prison for the rest of the middle ages.  It is famed for its role in the imprisonment of Bishop William Bedell during the 1641 Rebellion and death of Owen Roe O’ Neill in 1649.  It was one of the last Confederate strongholds to surrender in Ireland to the Cromwellian forces in 1653.  The Lough Oughter system is an internationally renowned fishing destination.  The nearby Killykeen Forest Park offers walkers, cyclists, and those with a love of nature a natural environment in which to indulge their love of the great outdoors. 

Killeshandra
Over a thousand years ago a small church was built in the middle of an old fort.  It was called in Irish Cill a’ Sean ratha, or the church of the old ring fort. This is how the town got its name.  A very small, late 17th century church still occupies the site near the lake, and the ditches of the fort can also be seen.  The town of Killeshandra was developed in the 17th century by the Hamilton’s, a planter family from Scotland.  They built a fort on the northern outskirts of the town and in the next century this was replaced by a house, still called Castle Hamilton.  The house was destroyed by fire in 1911. 

Trinity Island located near Killeshandra is one of the oldest ecclesiastical sites in Cavan.  Most of the surviving remains dates from the Middle Ages but indications are that the site was used in ancient times.  Monks lived on the island which became a popular destination for pilgrims in the later middle ages.  Owen Roe O’Neill leader of the anti-English revolt in the 1640’s died here in November 1649.

Arvagh which lies on the borders of Longford and Leitrim is well known as the town where the three provinces of Ulster, Leinster and Connaught meet. Arvagh is a scenic town uniquely situated in the center of the drumlin belt. The Arvagh area was settled by Scottish planters in the early 17th century.  The Earls of Gosford developed the town in the early 19th century, building the Market House in the town centre. William Bleakley born in Arvagh in 1890 was a pioneer of aviation and was the first to perform the aerobatic feat of looping the loop. With up to fifty lakes and streams to fish in the locally, Arvagh is internationally renowned as a fisherman’s paradise and plays host to a number of national and international fishing competitions.

Gowna is a quaint village located on the shores of Lough Gowna, the source of the River Erne.  With a number of lakes in the area, Gowna is a well known and popular coarse and game angling resort.    

Thornton Cottages provide self catering holiday cottage accommodation in Cavan, near to Belturbet.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carratraw Bridge, Bulters Bridge, Co Cavan