Town Lake and Castle Lake – A Wildlife Walk
If you start your walk from Drumbannon end of the town keep an eye out for the trees that have been planted inside the wall and down towards the Lake-shore.
You should see Irish Oak, Horse Chestnut, Wild Cherry, Purple Beech and a Rowan Tree.
There are an abundant variety of plants and Wild Life which inhabit the area and if you are lucky you will be surprised what you can see.
Walking towards the church car park, you will come across Alder, Hornbeam, Ash, Birch, Hazel and Rhododendron. On your right, there is a path that leads onto the ancient Crannog which is a Bronze Age structure built as a safe refuge for the locals to protect from marauding invaders. On the Crannog, you will see an old Scots Pine which was planted in the eighteenth century and which attracted a grant of five pence per tree planted.
In the beautiful boggy area on the left in Spring and Summer there is an abundance of Heather, Bog Cotton, Sedges and Water Iris growing. This area provides a resting place for the wide variety of bird-life which breed and thrive in this area. Out on the water you can enjoy the newly arrived Mallard, Mute Swans, Moorhen and Great Crested Grebe. On the bog the secretive Snipe feed and hide until disturbed by a passing walker or rambling dog.
This walk can be completed in fifteen minutes but if you want to absorb all that this area has to offer you could comfortably pass an hour of very enjoyable time.
If you are feeling energetic carry on to the Castle Lake which can be accessed from the Cavan Road and the Creamery Road.
This beautiful stretch of water is one of around half a dozen Lakes in Ireland that has a looped walk circumnavigating the Lake. The shorter walk, 3km takes about 45 minutes and the longer one 7km will take 90 minutes.
Here you will find the ruins of Bailieborough Castle, built in the 18th Century. Close-by there is the Hanging Tree and near-by hidden away in the plantation is the little Cemetery, which contains the Graves of the Seven Marist Brothers, whose order used the Castle as a Novitiate.
In the Spring and Summer, the area is a riot of colours and the Bluebells are magical. Tall Foxgloves adorn the sides of the paths as you make your way around the lake.
The area around the Lake has been planted by Coillte and you will see the trees at their various stages of development. There are a couple of Ancient Oaks which have been around for hundreds of years and worth a visit.
The wildlife is abundant and is very visible.
On the water you can see Mute Swans, Mallard, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Cormorant and a single Gull. Where the Lear River enters the Lake keep an eye out for the magnificent Kingfisher and the Grey Heron standing motionless waiting for his lunch to swim past. At the Stone Bridge where the stream exits from the lake, the Dipper can be spotted and in Summer the Bats can feed in this area. Overhead you may here the call of the Raven as they play and the Buzzard, with its distinctive call is now a regular visitor As it soars in the heavens on the air currents.
The Cavan Branch of Birdwatch Ireland have an annual Dawn Chorus outing starting at 4:30am where a symphony of birdsong can be heard all along the Lake-shore walks.
If you visit at a quiet time you may be surprised by a Red Squirrel, Otter, Pine Marten or Fox.