Like most of the sights of Ireland, the Abbey of Cong (or Tesnin St. Fechin) attracts tourists with the spirit of antiquity: the Bol monastery was created more than 1500 years ago. The place is also unique in that it contains two tourist structures at once: an ancient monastery and a castle, which attracts lovers of everything related to chivalry. Despite the fact that St. Fechin's Tesnina did not reach us in the best possible way and many of its parts cannot be restored, tourists are impressed by the general appearance of the structure and the patterns decorating the ruins - the work of ancient decorators of the 5th to 6th centuries.
Abbey Life from Creation to the Middle Ages
The word "abbey" was adopted from the Gaelic language and is translated as "a narrow strip of land." Indeed, if you look at the location of European abbeys, it becomes clear: most of them are built on small, narrow tracts of land, often washed on two sides by ponds. Cong Abbey is no exception: the building itself and several other small streets are sandwiched on both sides by water - Lough Carrib and Loch Mask lakes.
The monastery was created one and a half thousand years ago by St. Fechin. At one time it was a rich, famous monastery, where pilgrims flocked from all over the district. Among the parishioners there were many wealthy and noble people, for whom an educational center was created at the monastery. In 1120, the High King of Ireland and Connaught, Turlow O'Connor signed a decree on the transfer of the monastery to the Order of the Augustinians, who were here for a short time: King Henry VIII decided to close the monastery. The monks were dismissed, and all the treasures that were stored in Tesnin were distributed among the local churches and wealthy landowners.
The Gothic castle of Ashford
If you move away from the abbey to the south, you will find yourself in the Gothic castle of Ashford, which is called "falsely medieval." The construction looks as if it was built in the 10th to 12th centuries. In fact, the castle was recreated in 1870 by Lord Ardilon Guinness.
Today, Ashford is one of the most beautiful and expensive hotels in Ireland. Those who stayed here are delighted and urge not to regret the wallet - the impressions of staying here will remain for life: the hotel offers stunning views of the abbey, mountains, lakes.
Today, little remains of the once majestic abbey:
- Walls that served as “armor” for monks from enemies. Now they are completely covered with ivy.
- Created in symbiosis of Gothic and Romanesque door styles
- Carving is the skillful work of ancient decorators that cover all stone walls.
- Clouatra restored by the efforts of a team of restorers.
- Ashford Castle was built by one of the representatives of the famous beer family - Ardilon Guinness.
- When the abbey was dissolved by decree of Henry VIII, the main relic, the Cong Cross, was removed from it. Nowadays, you can admire them at the National Museum of Dublin.
- In the village of Cong, the Cross Market, named after the relics
- An abbey is adjacent to a fishing lodge - the “breadwinner" of the monks. The inhabitants equipped it with a bizarre device: as soon as the fish fell into a fishing rod, the bells rang in the monastery.
- In Ashford, the film "Silent Man", won the Oscar. The hotel still has the Quiet Man Fan Club, whose members conduct excursions to film locations.
- Another attraction that lies between the castle and the abbey is the Dry Canal: it was dug in the years 1845-1848 during a terrible drought and famine.