Six miles (10 km) from Ballinrobe is the village of Cong, on the isthmus between Lough Mask and Lough Corrib.
Cong is an excellent centre for the splendid fishing on both lakes, and tennis and boating are also available. Ashford Castle, a former residence of the Guinness family, is now a hotel. Among antiquities at Cong are an inscribed stone cross in the village street. The ruins of an Augustinian abbey stand close to Ashford castle.
This abbey was founded in 1128 probably on the site of a seventh-century settlement of St Fechin. Here Roderick O' Connor, the last High King of Ireland, died in 1198 after spending the last fifteen years of his life in monastic seclusion.
The famous processional Cross of Cong, now in the National Museum at Dublin, is a masterpiece of religious art; it was discovered in a chest in the village early in the last century. Made of oak plated with copper, and decorated with beautiful gold filigree-work of Celtic pattern, its function was to enshrine a portion of the True Cross.
It was made at Roscommon in 1123 for the cathedral of Tuam, by order of Turlough O' Connor, and later brought to Cong by his son Roderick.
The famous film 'The Quiet Man' was shot in the Cong countryside.
The underground steam connecting Lough Corrib and Lough Mask is accessible at a number of points, and the descent to the 'Pigeon Hole' is particularly recommended. Between Cong and the Neale lies the Plain of Southern Moytura, a prehistoric battlefield where the legendary Tuatha De Danann inflicted the first great defeat on the Firbolgs. Seven years later the Firbolgs were completely crushed at the Battle of Northern Moytura near Sligo. These two battlefields have thrown much light on the history of megalithic monuments.
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