The village of Cong is nestled along Mayo’s border with County Galway and commands great respect with Historians throughout Ireland. The world famous Ashford Castle lies on the shores of Lough Corrib and attracts a large number of visitors annually. The Ashford Estate was founded in the early 1700's but Ashford Castle dates back to the 12th century, when it was built by the De Burgo family.
The nearby Augustinian Abbey was also built in the 12th century by the prominent O’Connor family. At this time, the head of the family, Turlough O’Connor was the High King of Ireland. The Abbey in Cong was the burial ground of the last High King of Ireland, Rory O’Connor, Turlough's son, who died in the late 12th century. This century also produced the Cross of Cong which was commissioned by Turlough O’Connor. The Cross is now displayed at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.
Cong is located close to the village of Moytura which is home to some ancient stone monuments. Several stone circles are engraved into the monuments which are said to date back to the Neolithic era. It is in this area that the 'Battle of Moytura' is said to have taken place between the ruling Fir bolgs and the invading Tuatha De Danann.
Moytura is also the place where the great Irish writer Oscar Wilde spent a lot of his summer holidays as a youngster. Wilde's father, Sir William had a country residence in this picturesque part of Mayo. William Wilde wrote the book "Wilde’s loch Coirib" in the 1860's which depicts the historical and archaeological aspects associated with Cong.
Historical articles on Cong: