Cong Abbey

AKA The Royal Abbey of Cong

The 12th century Abbey at Cong was built on the site of an earlier 7th century monastery founded by either Domnall, the nephew of an Irish King or St Feichin. We do know that St Feichen had been an abbot here during the early period. The abbey was burned several times in the early 12th century and in 1134 it was refounded for the Canons regular of St Augustine by Turlough O'Connor, High King of Ireland. Known as the Royal Abbey of Cong it was also supported by Turlough's son Rory O'Connor (Ruaidrí Ua Conchobairthe) last High King of Ireland, who is believed to have died here in 1198, his remains are now interred at Clonmacnoise.

We entered the Abbey from the village through a beautiful romanesque looking doorway that was a later addition to the church. The arch was made up from stones that were formerly used in another arch in the same northern wall. The most striking feature of the 42.6 metre long great church is the three lancet east windows shown in the image above and the tombstone paved floor. We made our way into the chapter house and out through another beautifully carved doorway, see the capitals pictured right, into the cloister area. The cloister, which was built in the 13th century, was reconstructed later. The capitals of the doorway and some from the cloister were carved in the 19th century.

Lancet windows

19th century capitals

Cloister remnants

West wall of the chapter house

On the abbey grounds is a delightful 15th/16th century monks fishing house built over the River Cong, see image bottom right. In the floor is a trapdoor, the monks would have been able to fish in relative comfort.

Situated: Easy, locatd in the centre of Cong Village next to the grounds of Ashford Castle.

Discovery Map 45: M 1469 5524. Last visit April 2012.

Longitude: 9° 17' 13" W

Latitude: 53° 32' 25" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson

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