County Galway Stories and Tips

A Drive Through Cong on the Connemara Loop

David Looking Down from the Cong Abbey Photo, County Galway, Ireland

We had one day planned to drive what some refer to as the Connemara Loop. Cong is on that route and would be our first destination after leaving the cottage in Recess.

Cong is actually in County Mayo, just over the county line from County Galway. Perhaps it's greatest claim to fame is that the John Wayne & Maureen O'Hara film classic "The Quiet Man" was largely filmed here. Today there is a replica of the cottage used in the filming, which serves as a museum for visitors to see a part of movie history. There are also several "Quiet Man" tours available that include not only this cottage/museum, but also visits to other local points of interest used in the filming of the movie. Since none of us were big enthusiasts, we took a pass on the tour(s) and headed on.

The reason for our trip to Cong was to visit the Cong Abbey. The original abbey built on this site in the 7th century was destroyed in the 12th century, resulting in a new structure being built in 1135. Unfortunately this abbey sustained significant damage when the Normans attacked Cong in the early 13th century and yet another rebuilding ensued. Much of what is seen on the site today are the remains of that third abbey.

I had wanted to pay a visit to the Ashford Castle which is now a hotel, but unfortunately the gated entrance that we came to was closed to the public and we didn't try to find an alternate way in.

As we left Cong for the Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, the Garmin took us along a very scenic and seemingly out of the way route down a narrow dirt road that was as much grass as dirt. We did cross paths with another car, but fortunately it was at the driveway of a home, so they were able to turn out and let us pass.

Cong was interesting but really just a stop along our day trip. I don't know that I would suggest it being a special destination unless you are really a big fan of "The Quiet Man" as there isn't much else in this little town.

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