Belturbet – Always on my mind, forever in my heart

FreshWaters Belturbet

Belturbet, Co. Cavan  is a warm, friendly town with a big welcome waiting for you!

I was invited to the town as part of the new Fresh Waters Campaign, encouraging locals to ‘Explore a New View’ of the rivers, streams and fresh water areas in and around Portglenone Marina, Drumaheglis, Belturbet and Kilrea, after they received  a cash injection to allow the public and visitors to the province to step off the beaten track and revel in a tourism attraction that has previously been closed for business or otherwise awaiting regeneration.


The thriving town of Belturbet is located in Cavan 15km from the county’s main town and about halfway between Lough Oughter and Upper Lough Erne. Located on the banks of the River Erne it has its own marina and is a haven for keen anglers or for those planning a boating holiday. I travelled from Belfast by car within 2 hours.


What makes Belturbet special is the people. Everyone I met was so friendly and had such a passion for their town and I can honestly say I have made some friends for life.

My accommodation was the “The Seven Horseshoes” – A family run hotel, cosy bar with open fire, excellent food with clean and warm rooms.

On arrival I was welcomed by the Belturbet PR committee (Belturbet Inside) who created an itinerary of interesting places and sights to visit. A tour of the town, a train station, monastry, a castle and a few pubs were all on the agenda. The weather was beautiful so I was excited for the day ahead.


Belturbet is surrounded by the Erne river and numerous lakes. It’s said that Cavan has 365 lakes – one for each day of the year. An angler’s dream. Each July and September one of Ireland’s oldest angling festivals is held on the river Erne. Whether you just want to dangle your legs off the marina or stand waist high fly-fishing in the river, you will be surrounded by breathtaking landscape. I was taken on the tour of the town and the marina by my hosts Peggy Gray (Artist) and Noreen Briddigkeit Quinn.

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Belturbet is a beautiful town. What stood out for me was the work by the tidy town commitee. Lovely floral garden boxes and restored farming equipment everywhere, made by locals that take pride in their streets.

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After a very enjoyable and pleasant walk round the town, we decided to have lunch at “An Bistro Caislean” restaurant. The Chef was Lithuanian! so was able to chat to her in my own language. I love meeting people from my country. I opted for the Chicken pasta special which was delicious. The staff were very friendly and wanted to know more about life in Belfast.

Something that I noticed about everyone I met was that no one had ever been to Belfast or Northern Ireland. The troubles may be over but this town has a very tragic and heart breaking story to tell…..

Two young people, Geraldine O’Reilly aged 15 and Patrick Stanley aged 16 were killed by a Loyalist car bomb in Belturbet on 28 December 1972. Eight others were seriously injured. The Council have erected a monument to commemorate their deaths at the site of the bombing.

Memories of past sadness

Geraldine O’Reilly, who was on her Christmas holidays from school, had got a lift into Belturbet in her brother’s car to buy chips. The explosion occured while she was in the shop, waiting to be served. She sustained massive head injuries from flying shrapnel and died instantly while her brother, Anthony, who was parked outside, was seriously injured.

Paddy Stanley was also on his Christmas holidays from school in Clara, Co. Offaly. He had taken a holiday job as a helper on a Calor gas delivery lorry. While making a delivery in Belturbet there was a problem with the lorry and the driver decided they should stay in Belturbet overnight. When the bomb exploded, Paddy was in the public phone kiosk on Main Street, trying to telephone his parents to tell them he would not be home. He suffered massive head injuries and was killed instantly.

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Castle Saunderson €3.7 million European-funded Scouting Centre opened in August 2012 and is a fully modern building, with sleeping accommodation for 46 persons. The facilities are second to none. Contained on the 34 acre site is separate Camping areas that will be capable of having over 1,000 campers on site at any one time.

The Saunderson Castle estate (currently only 103 acres) has an entrance in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. These grounds include a church and family grave yard.  The Castle dates back to the 1840s, but was damaged with fires and is now derelict but still beautiful.


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One of Belturbet’s main places of interest is the Railway Visitor Centre. Formerly the town’s GNR train station it has undergone a makeover as part of a new heritage tourism project to become the town’s main visitor attraction. The centre tells the story of Belturbet’s rail history from 1885 until the closure of the station in 1959. You’ll also find a really interesting collection of railway memorabilia here.

Sam O’Keefe and Phil Cantwell brought my visit to the Railway station to life. Their passion and enthusiasm for the restoration was fantastic.

The station buildings lay derelict for almost 40 years until the Belturbet Community Development Association purchased the entire 10 acre site in 1995. The buildings had during that time served as farmyard buildings and had been subjected to the effects of weather, fire and theft. They were subsequently refurbished to the original state with great attention to detail gained by reference to original plans drawn on silk.

The Station master’s house is available to book for accommodation.

For booking enquiries contact us on 049 9522074 Or 087 689 4808 or 087 2639764

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Turbet Island : A beautiful town walk

The name Belturbet, comes from the gaelic words beal (mouth) and Tairbeart (isthmus or peninsula). Translated literally Belturbet is the mouth of the peninsula. Turbet Island, which is located beside kilconny bridge is the mouth of the peninsula.

The island is a beautiful place to visit. It features a quiet, nature filled, fully accessible walking trail, along the river Erne, which runs from the parking lot at Kilconny bridge past the Anglo Norman remnants of the Motte and Bailey, on up to the Railway Bridge (a remnant of The Great Northern Railway) and either back again to the parking lot or on into town if you are following “The Belturbet Heritage  Walking Trail” .

The first ever remnants in Europe of the prehistoric Wooly Mammoth were found on Turbet island! and are house in the natural History Museum in Dublin city. The island or the peninsula is probably the main reason why the town came into existence.

Local Historian Eileen McKiernan highlighted many interesting landmarks and details of families that lived in the area.

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A night in Belturbet involves drinking some of the black stuff. A Pint of Guinness!

This one was magic and kept being topped up, so I’m not really sure how many I drank. But it was a fantastic night and really enjoyed the Irish craic.


I even had the pleasure of bringing the #IceBucketChallenge to Belturbet…

A great night out can be had in the Widdow’s Bar


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The Slieve Russell Hotel Golf, Ciuin Spa & Country Club

The Slieve Russell Hotel provides luxury hotel accommodation in a tranquil setting. Set in 300 acres, including 50 acres of lakes, the Slieve Russell Hotel Golf & Country Club with Ciúin Spa & Wellness Centre. The Slieve Russell is one of the finest hotels in Ireland offering 4 star hotel accommodation, with 222 stylish bedrooms. It’s approx 10 mins drive from Belturbet.

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Afternoon tea for two = 20 Euros!

Slieve Russel

I look forward to meeting you all once again.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE! – See you soon x



The picturesque town has a population of around 1,500.



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