Friday, March 30, 2018

Exploring the Village of Cong in Ireland

The following series of photos were the result of our general exploration of the Village of Cong over a 2 day period.  This was in addition to our visit to the Cong Abbey.

Just as a reminder, this was our bed and breakfast in Cong.  It’s Ryan’s River Lodge and it faces the Cong River. (

The Village of Cong literally sits on the line between County Galway and County Mayo.  This sign is on the bridge to the fish hatchery right across from Ryan’s River Lodge on the Cong River.

Talk about a laid back and peaceful setting…water, water, everywhere!

I’d consulted my map of the area and we decided to follow a path along the river and through the woods.

Much to our surprise and delight, we discovered this stone hut near the Cong Abbey.  Bonnie and Laurie posed next to the monk’s fishing house, which was probably built in the 1400’s or 1500s.  Built on a stone platform over the River Cong, it allows the river to flow underneath it.  There is a trapdoor in the floor which may have allowed the fish to be kept fresh. 

The river flows quickly toward Lough/Lake Corrib and at one point along our path it tumbled over these rapids.

The trees along our pathway were really quite old…and impressive in their height and girth!

We noted these ruins right on the riverbank and we wondered if they were a remnant of an earlier era that was related to the next impressive sight that we encountered…

...and suddenly, as we exited our woodland path, this huge and impressive castle stood before us!  Ashford Castle, a medieval castle dating back to 1228, has been expanded repeatedly over the centuries and it’s now a 5 star luxury hotel on the shore of Lough Corrib.  The castle has had many owners over the years, including the Guinness family.
Our wives initially wanted to stay here…until I told them how much it would cost for our 2 night stay!  Consider the fact that visitors and guests at Ashford Castle include the likes of King George V and Queen Mary, John Lennon, George Harrison, Oscar Wilde, President Ronald Reagan, Ted Kennedy, John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara (while filming “The Quiet Man”), Robin Williams, Brad Pitt, Pierce Brosnan as well as Prince Ranier and Princess Grace.  In April of 2017 professional golfer and Irishman Rory McIlroy was married here. 

If you can afford it, I’m sure that Ashford Castle would be a wonderful place to stay.   At the time I wrote this posting, if you were to go to TripAdvisor or one of the other major discount travel sites, you could have booked a room for two on March 25th for one night for only 1,040E/$1,250 US) We did discuss going to the castle for lunch or tea…but we would have had to change out of our blue jeans and the cost of a very luxurious afternoon tea was 45E/$54.00 US per person.  You can learn more by going to

If you looked at the map of Cong that I published in a previous post, you may have noticed that it was a tourist map for those interested in the John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara movie from 1951 entitled “The Quiet Man”.  Cong is ‘all about’ the movie…with plaques and buildings prominently on display all around the village.  This statue is hard to miss!

The “Quiet Man Cottage Museum” is designed to provide visitors with a total “Quiet Man” experience…as if they were on-set.  The ground floor of the cottage is an exact replica of “White-o’Mornin” Cottage from the movie.  Even if you’re not into the move, it does give visitors a look at a typical Irish cottage of the 1920s.

We’ve never seen the movie and now we’ll just have to find it so we can see what all the fuss is about… In the meantime, I was fascinated by a close-up of the thatched roof on the cottage.

Labor intensive traditional thatched roofs in Ireland are facing extinction.  It’s estimated that only about 1,300 thatched-roof buildings remain in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland.  Thatchers may go out of business if there is further decline and that will spell the end of this type of roofing…

We stopped in Pat Cohan’s Bar in Cong for a pint and to decide if we wanted to have dinner there later.  The bar was featured in The Quiet Man movie.  After experiencing a particularly rude bartender, we unanimously decided that we would not return for dinner!  This bartender was the only negative people experience we had in either Ireland or Scotland.  The bar and restaurant was very attractive…but looks aren’t everything… If you’re interested in giving Pat Cohan’s a try,then go to

I included this photo just to support my theory that every village and small town in Ireland features a butcher shop!  It’s actually called Ryan’s Food Emporium and with a deli and bakery, it’s a lot more than just a butcher shop.  We’re actually lucky that we didn’t go inside the shop.  I gained 5 lbs. just looking at their website!  You can check it out at

This is just a view up the side street next to our bed and breakfast… That red and white cottage is called “The Dying Man House” and it was featured in The Quiet Man movie.

FYI…in today’s dollars, The Quiet Man was a big success grossing $172,200,000!  John Ford, the director, won an Academy award for the film.  I noted that Rotten Tomatoes, (the current rating site that really can make or break a movie), gave the movie a 90% rating!  That’s a good thing…

I included these photos of some of the flowers scattered around Cong just because they were eye catching and they brightened up otherwise mostly cloudy days…

I liked the look of Danagher’s Hotel, Bar and Restaurant so I took a photo.  You can check it out on TripAdvisor (88% Very Good +) at

...water is everywhere around the perimeter of Cong.  Love it!

Someone even built a ‘duck house’ on a platform in the middle of one of the river channels.  A nearby bench provides a place to watch or feed the ducks.

I noticed this one house that is literally built out over the stream and I wondered if there ever is a chance for flooding?  But talk about going to sleep to the sound of running water…wow!

Yet another house right next to the river… Love the colors and the general look of the property. 

Ahh yes… The local pharmacy.  It’s not exactly a Walgreen’s is it?  When my bride was under the weather one evening, our hosts referred me to this pharmacy for a medical solution.  The residing pharmacist ran a one man show and he was very helpful!

I thought that I’d end this long posting with a photo of Cong’s Tourist Office.  It’s located in the old courthouse which was built in 1853.  I visited it while I was walking around town and the fellow on duty was very helpful.
A plaque in front of the building indicated that another movie, this time from 1977, ‘Un Taxi Mauve’ aka. “Purple Taxi”, was filmed at least partly in the vicinity of Cong.  It starred Charlotte Rampling, Peter Ustinov and Fred Astaire.

That’s all for now… I tried not to write too much given all of the photos in this posting.  Just click on any of them to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a tour of Cong Ireland!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Hard to b believe folks built castles like that. With so much water around town, I wonder if flooding is ever a problem. Like most John Wayne movies, I've seen The Quiet Man a few times and other than not being a western, it's a pretty typical JW movie - I really like Maureen's role.

  2. What lovely place Don !
    Happy Easter for you and Laurie!!