County of the Republic of Ireland, on the border with Northern Ireland, in the province of Ulster; county town Cavan; area 1,890 sq km/730 sq mi; population (2002) 56,550. The chief rivers are the Woodford, the Shannon (rising on the south slopes of Cuilcagh mountain; 667 m/2,188 ft), and the Erne, which divides Cavan into two parts: a narrow, mostly low-lying stretch of ground, 30 km/19 mi long, between Leitrim and Fermanagh; and an eastern section of wild and bare hill country. The chief towns are Cavan and Kilmore, seat of Roman Catholic and Protestant bishoprics. Agriculture is the chief industry; mushrooms and oats are major crops; dairying and pig- and beef-farming are also important.
Cavan is predominantly a rural county, with only 16% of its population living in towns with a population of 1,500 or more. Much of the county is covered in bog and forest. The soil is generally poor and the climate moist and cold. The chief lakes, noted for their scenery and coarse fishing, include the tortuously shaped Lough Oughter, and Loughs Ramor, Sheelin, Sillan, and Brackley. Other towns include Bailieborough, Ballyjamesduff, Belturbet, Cootehill, Kingscourt, and Virginia.
Features include the 6th-century Drumline monastic site, with a round tower and 13th-century church. Cavan County Museum is located in a 19th-century building in Ballyjamesduff; artefacts on display include the 4,000-year-old Killycluggin stone and the 1,000-year-old Lough Errol Log boat. Killykeen Forest Park is also located in the county.