Nestled between Lough Corrib and Lough Mask, Cong is an enchanting village on the border between County Galway and County Mayo. It provided a setting for the 1952 Hollywood film “The Quiet Man” starring John Wayne and is famed for the underground streams that flow beneath the village.
Stretch your legs on the Cong Nature Trail, which extends for 2.3 kilometres through a woodland of redwoods and giant sequoias. Don’t miss Ashford Castle, a medieval estate that was extended by the Guinness family. Its magnificent grounds include the oldest falconry school in Ireland.
Also dating from the medieval period is Cong Abbey, a now-ruined Augustinian abbey where the last High King of Ireland spent his final years. It was here that the 12th-century Cross of Cong was discovered before being moved to the National Museum of Ireland. Occupying a thatched-roof cottage is the Quiet Man Museum, where props and costumes from the film are exhibited.
Cong is around 40 minutes’ drive from Galway and 1.5 hours from Shannon Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Regular buses connect to Cong and the village is small enough to explore on foot.