Cavan Antiquities

The remains of antiquity are comparatively few and uninteresting. The most common are cairns and raths, of which the latter are particularly numerous in the north-eastern part of the county, and near Kingscourt: in one at Rathkenny, near Cootehill, was found a considerable treasure, together with a gold fibula. There are remains of a round tower of inferior size at Drumlane. The number of abbeys and priories was eight, the remains of none of which, except that of the Holy Trinity, now exist, so that their sites can only be conjectured. Few also of the numerous castles remain, and all, except that of Cloughoughter, are very small. Though there are many good residences surrounded with ornamented demesnes, the seats of the nobility and gentry are not distinguished by any character of magnificence; they are noticed under the heads of the parishes in which they are respectively situated. The more substantial farmers have good family houses; but the dwellings of the peasantry are extremely poor, and their food consists almost entirely of oatmeal, milk, and potatoes.

The English language is generally spoken, except in the mountain districts towards the north and west, and even there it is spoken by the younger part of the population, but the aged people all speak Irish, particularly in the district of Glan. With regard to fish, the lakes afford an abundance of pike, eels, and trout; and cod, salmon, and herrings, are brought in abundance by hawkers. The chief natural curiosities are the mineral springs, of which the most remarkable are those at Swanlinbar and Derrylyster, the waters of which are alterative and diaphoretic; those at Legnagrove and Dowra, containing sulphur and purging salt, and used in nervous diseases; the well at Owen Breun, which has similar medicinal properties; and the purgative and diuretic waters of Carrickmore, which are impregnated with fixed air and fossil alkali. The mineral properties of a pool in the mountains of Loughlinlea, between Bailieborough and Kingscourt, are also very remarkable. In 1617, Sir Oliver Lambart was created baron of Cavan, and this title was raised to an earldom in favour of his son Charles, by whose lineal descendants it is still enjoyed.

Search Topographical Dictionary of Ireland »