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Home to the world-renowned Ashford Castle and the Hollywood hit movie ‘The Quiet Man’

Cong (Irish: Conga, from Cúnga Fheichín meaning “Saint Feichin’s narrows”) is a village straddling the borders of County Galway and County Mayo. Situated on an island formed by a number of streams that surround it on the isthmus connecting Loughs Corrib and Mask, near the towns of Headford and Ballinrobe and the villages of Clonbur, the Neale and Cross.

Cong was the filming location for John Ford’s 1952 Oscar-winning film, The Quiet Man. Much of it was filmed on the grounds of the luxury hotel Ashford Castle, which was converted from a Victorian faux lakeside castle, built by the Guinness family. Ashford Castle remains a tourist attraction.

Cong also features a ruined medieval abbey, Cong Abbey, where Rory O’Connor, the last High King of Ireland, spent his last years. It also is the origin of a piece of Celtic art in the form of a metal cross shrine called the Cross of Cong, now held in the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin. There is a High Cross in the village.

Cong was home to Sir William Wilde, historian and father of prominent playwright, novelist, poet, and short-story writer Oscar Wilde.

The Cong Canal, built over five years by the Commissioners of Public Works between 1848 and 1854 was a combined scheme to provide navigation, drainage and mill-power. However, the project was abandoned when it became clear the water was disappearing periodically under the limestone surface. These days it is known as the ‘Dry Canal’; the water level can vary between zero and 3.5 metres depending on the time of year (summer dry, winter full) and is three miles in length. Built heritage features of the canal remain.

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