The Lodge at Ashford Castle, Cong, County Mayo.

Cong is known for his association with the legendary Irish film The Quiet Man (director John Ford used locations throughout the city in the film), but certainly leans in his Hollywood commitments, but offers more than Mickey Mouse tours and plastic paddywhackery. Instead, the whole city came together to offer the kind of Irish destination not found anywhere else on the island. Think of country roads, tranquil bars, discreet service and scenery found nowhere else.

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

Where to stay …

The Lodge at Ashford Castle, for an experience that brings with it the views and grounds of Ashford Castle, but in a relaxed setting. The accommodation is bright, spacious, luxurious and has a view of Lough Corrib and the 350 acre castle grounds.

Staff are attentive and friendly without being overbearing and the bar offers the most innovative cocktails. Best of all? The Lodge at Ashford Castle is dog friendly, which means your four-legged friends can enjoy the experience too!

Ashford Castle.

What to do …

Explore the grounds of Ashford Castle (and try to find The Quiet Man cottage) and sign up for a Hawk Walk with the School of Falconry of Ireland, the oldest established falconry school in Ireland. There are different levels of walks available, but for a unique experience, go along and hike the one-hour walk, which allows you to fly your own bird with an instructor. After getting acquainted with your birds, you leave for the beautiful bushveld to fly your falcons as they follow you from tree to tree through the forest, before swiping your country on the glove of your glove. Your instructor will explain about the exceptional sight of the falcons, their speed and agility and how they themselves were trained by the Falconry School. Even if I’m nervous about things with wings, like me, this experience will give you a better appreciation for these amazing creatures.

An aerial view of Ashford Castle and its grounds.

An aerial view of Ashford Castle and its grounds.

Where to eat …

Make sure you, if time allows, enjoy a great dining experience at Wilde’s Restaurant. It’s hard to mix delicious meals with a relaxed atmosphere, but Wilde makes it look easy, while showcasing the best products in local produce, as noted by executive chef Jonathan Keane, who was recently named by the Good Eating Guide as best chef in ireland. As a side note, the breakfast offer is also one of the best we have experienced.

About the town …

Take a leisurely stroll to the Kong itself, stop by The Quiet Man Museum for a stroll through memory and perhaps enjoy a walking tour of movie locations.

Cong, County Mayo.

Cong, County Mayo.

During the summer months, the museum also shows daily performances of The Quiet Man by booking for groups of 10 or more. Pub bar at Pat Cohan’s bar delivers above expectation, while a pint in The Crowe’s Nest offers the chance to mingle with locals and hear stories of filming.

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

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