We decided to travel north from Galway to Cong. Cong is where the John Ford film “The Quiet Man” was filmed starring John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara and Victor McGlaughlin. We drove north on the back roads for about 40 km on the east side of Lough Corrib.
As we arrived at the entrance to Cong, we turned into the drive of Ashford Castle. The entrance fee is 5 Euro per person and is well worth it. If one wishes, you can stay at the castle as they have turned it into a hotel. The grounds of the castle are well groomed and covered in lush plants, flowers and trees. Ashford Castle is also home to a falconry school which was established in 1999.
We were most impressed with the view across the lough. It is dotted with small islands and, of course, is covered in mist.
Cong has turned the location into a cottage industry. As you exit Ashford Castle grounds, you immediately pass through the old Cong Abbey and into the main street of Cong. Turn right and find the Pat Cohan Bar (one of the first scenes from the Quiet Man. Across the street is the The Quiet Man house and Squire Dannegher’s Bar. Those of us who love the film will recognize the names.
The village is tiny but busy with tourists and we had espresso and yes, Diana found cappuchino at the Hungry Monk. We walked the old tombstones of the Abbey and the gardens behind the Abbey. A few hundred meters beyond is a beautiful river with the Monk Fish House situated on the bank of the river.
We proceeded to do the Connemara Ring a route that takes you around the coast through some of the most incredible scenery imaginable. Beautiful views of the coast and harbors, mountains and of course, sheep. Sheep are everywhere and cows? (Diana just loves cows. It must be a Dutch thing). The cows are huge.
We have never seen cows this huge. We drove and photographed until about 5 and as the sky was darkening we found a nice little B&B (fluent French spoken) in Clifden. We holed up for the night in the B&B to prepare for another excursion in the Connemara Ring.
Incidentally, the B&B’s are as ubiquitous as the grass. You can’t drive 50 meters without seeing signs for B&B’s. I would venture that staying in a B&B is a better bet than a hotel. They are more intimate and far less expensive than a hotel. We averaged 60 Euro a night whereas hotels range from 89 Euro to 150 Euro. The breakfasts are the same. Everyone serves the “traditional” breakfast which consists of “crisp” bacon (sliced ham really), black and white pudding (little cakes of, uh, uh pudding?), one fried egg, two sausages, toast, a fried tomato, baked beans, tea or coffee and very nice people and conversation.
Tomorrow we will finish the Ring.