County Monaghan is full of amazing places to visit. The beautiful Castle Leslie and its grounds, The Patrick Kavanagh centre in Iniskeen or the Tin Church in Laragh to name a few. With the beautiful weather though last Monday, myself and Mam decided to make the short trip from Cavan to Lough Muckno. Lough Muckno Leisure park is situated on the edge of Castleblaney and it not only boasts water sports, walking trails, a playground and fishing- it has a pretty amazing history. Muckno comes from the word Múc -the Irish for pig. Aparently a black pig used to swim in the Lake and that’s where it got its name.
On entering the park you drive through an archway with the name “Hope Castle”. Sir Edward Blaney was granted these lands in the early 1600’s and built Blaney Castle- I’m not sure if that is the structure that is here today. The town that is here today was built up beside the castle- hence the name- Castleblaney. In the mid 1800’s the Blaney family sold the entire estate to the wealthy Hope family. It still holds this name today. The Hope family left the estate in 1919 and the castle served a military baracks during the civil war. It served as a hospital in the 1930’s, a convent from 1942 to 1970 and the county council took control of it then in the 1980’s. The castle was being leased to a local business man who was operating it as a bar and restaurant when it was damaged by an arson attack in 2010. Apparently valuable antiques and obviously items that may have been there from the Blaneys themselves were completely destroyed. It is really sad to see this building here abandoned but who knows- maybe it will open again in the future. It reminded us of Castle Saunderson that isn’t too far away in Co Fermanagh. It was also destroyed by an arson attack.
The view from castle Hope is absolutely amazing. Looking down over Lough Muckno and the various Islands on the lake. Myself and Mam took a walk down the path at the side of the castle towards White Island. White Island is a popular coarse fishing venue and we could see all the spots where the fishermen would set up home. This is a perfect loop to walk around with some amazing views. From the right hand side of the Island you can see a boat house which is the home of Muckno Adventure.
This is a fantastic adventure centre that offers water sports, land activities and lots of group activities! Perfect for a hen party or fun day out for the family! From here we went for a walk over towards the ducks and the bridge that would lead us over to Black Island.
There is a little jetty just before you go over the bridge where a family of ducks were hanging out in the sun. There were lots of families down here feeding the ducks and this is the spot where you can hire Kayaks for the lake. Just before we crossed the lake there was a sign also to say that there is a timed 5k every Saturday morning leaving from this spot! How handy is that!
On crossing over the river to Black Island you are greeted with a board that shows you all the different walking trails that are available. There is the Black Island walk which is an easy 1.5km walk around the Island. The highroad and Bluebell walk are both steep walks to the top of the island but are both only 500 metres in lenght. The McBrides walk is 1km long and then the Shoreline walk is 2km long and recommended for anglers. We took the shoreline walk and we got to see practically all corners of the Island.
On the way back to the car we came across the most amazing playground. It looks pretty new and there were lots of families taking advantage of the good weather. There were zip wires, trampolines, sandpits and lots more for kids of all ages. Mam wouldn’t let me try out the zip line 🙁
This park is perfect for all the family and a perfect day out for all the family. There was lots of picnic benches about and toilet facilities beside the playground.
I am so delighted we decided to visit Lough Muckno and we will definitely be back. I have attached all the links below that might help you when you visit. As always- Happy Galavanting xx