Irish Name: an Cabhán - "The hollow"
County Town: Cavan
Nickname: The Breffni
GAA Colors: Blue and White
Famous People with Cavan roots: Francis Sheehy Skeffington, John Charles McQuaid, General Philip Sheridan and Marcus Daly, Matthew Brady (early pioneer of portrait photography), songwriter W. Percy French
Cavan, meaning "The Hollow") is the county seat of County Cavan in Ireland. The town lies in the northeast of the island, along the border with Northern Ireland. The town is located on the main road - the N3 road - linking Dublin (to the south) with Enniskillen, Ballyshannon and Donegal Town (to the north).
The O'Reilly family (still a very common surname in the area) established a castle in the town in the late 13th century. A Franciscan monastery was also established at around the same time. In the 15th century the local ruler, Bearded Owen O'Reilly set up a market which attracted merchants from Dublin and Drogheda. King James I of England granted the town a charter in 1610.
In the early 19th century, the Maxwells, Lords Farnham of Cromwellian origin, built a new wide street that still bears the name Farnham Street. This was lined with comfortable town houses, public buildings (such as the courthouse which dates from 1825, and churches. The term life of Reilly was credited to the O'Reilly clans due to their great wealth and power, having issued their own currency during the 1600s.
In the late 19th century, Cavan became an important rail junction between the midland and western lines and those of the Northern Railways. The Town Hall was built in 1909. In 1938, work began on the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saints Patrick and Felim.
Three miles west of Cavan Town is the Church of Ireland Kilmore Cathedral, which contains a Romanesque doorway dating from the 12th century. Farnham House, to the northwest of Cavan, is one of the largest houses in the county. It is believed to have been built for the Maxwell family - who hold the title of Baron Farnham - in 1810, and designed by Francis Johnston, a County Armagh-born, but Dublin-based, architect. It was recently sold by the widowed Lady Mairead Smith to a local entrepreneur, and the house and estate has now been converted to a luxury hotel and leisure complex under the Radisson SAS international hotel group. Cavan has been twinned with Jaunay Clan, in the Vienne département of France.
On February 23, 1943, a fire at St Joseph's Orphanage in the town claimed the lives of 35 children and an elderly woman. A Public Enquiry found no culpability on the part of the nuns who ran the orphanage, but the circumstances surrounding the high death toll in the fire remain controversial to this day.
In accordance with the National Development Plan, development in County Cavan is on course to meet a programme deadline of 2020 for embracing road and telecommunication infrastructures. These will permit a better integration with the neighbouring Dublin and Midlands Gateways, also, the Monaghan, Sligo, and Ulster hubs, and thus allowing the promotion of business and tourism within the region.
The guiding principal as stated by Cavan County Council: "The unique and diverse heritage of County Cavan is conserved, sustained and, above all, cherished and celebrated by the people of the County". The example of Cavan's uniqueness can be best defined by its location in the heart of Irelands lakeland's, a region so diverse that its potential has yet to be determined in a viable Biodiversity Action Plan. The Wildlife and Wetlands environment of County Cavan's loughs is nationally and internationally recognised and offers substantial and unique opportunities for Sustainable tourism development. Lough Oughter and Killykeen located just a few miles from Cavan town already has the core infrastructure for further durable and sustainable tourism development.
Common Surnames in Cavan: Quinn, Reilly, Smith, Brady, Lynch, McCabe, Clarke, Farrelly, Maguire, Sheridan and Galligan