Famous for its connections to the legendary Irish movie The Quiet Man (director John Ford used locations around the town in the film), Cong certainly leans into its Hollywood connections but offers more than Mickey Mouse tours and plastic paddywhackery. Instead, the entire town has pulled together to offer the type of Irish destination not found anywhere else on the island. Think country lanes, quiet pubs, discreet service, and scenery not found anywhere else. 

Taken from the July / August 2020 issue of Ireland of the Welcomes magazine. Subscribe to this bi-monthly print magazine here.

Where to stay... 

The Lodge at Ashford Castle, for an experience that brings together the views and grounds of Ashford Castle but in a relaxed environment. Accommodations are bright, spacious, luxurious, and boast views of Lough Corrib and the 350-acre castle grounds.

Staff is attentive and friendly without being over the top and the bar serves up the most innovative cocktails. Best of all? The Lodge at Ashford Castle is dog-friendly, meaning your four-legged friends get to enjoy the experience as well!

Ashford Castle.

Ashford Castle.

What to do...

Explore the grounds of Ashford Castle (and try to find The Quiet Man cottage) and perhaps sign up to do a Hawk Walk with Ireland’s School of Falconry, the oldest established falconry school in Ireland. Different levels of walks are available, but for a truly unique experience go as a pair and do the one-hour walk, which allows you to fly your own bird with an instructor. After you have been introduced to your birds you’ll set off into the magnificent woodlands to fly your hawks, as they follow you from tree to tree through the woods before swooping down to land on your gloved fist. Your instructor will explain about the hawks’ exceptional eyesight, their speed and agility, and how they were trained by the Falconry School themselves. Even if you’re nervous of things with wings, as I am, this experience will give you a better appreciation of these magnificent creatures.

An aerial view of Ashford Castle and its grounds.

An aerial view of Ashford Castle and its grounds.

Where to eat... 

If time permits make sure to take advantage of a fine dining experience in Wilde’s Restaurant. It’s hard to mix fine dining with a relaxed atmosphere yet Wilde’s make it look easy, all the while showcasing the very best in local produce as directed by executive chef Jonathan Keane, recently named best chef in Ireland by the Good Eating Guide. As a side note, the breakfast offering is also one of the best we’ve experienced.

About town...

Take a leisurely stroll into Cong itself, stopping by The Quiet Man Museum for a walk through memory lane and perhaps indulge in a walking tour of film locations.

Cong, County Mayo.

Cong, County Mayo.

During the summer months, the museum also shows daily screenings of The Quiet Man by booking for groups of 10 or more. Pub grub at Pat Cohan’s bar delivers beyond expectations while a pint in The Crowe’s Nest offers a chance to mix with the locals and hear tales of filming.   

Taken from the July / August 2020 issue of Ireland of the Welcomes magazine. Subscribe to this bi-monthly print magazine here.

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