Cong Augustinian Abbey

Map Reference: M148553 (1148, 2553)

This is the site of an early monastery founded by Domnall, son of Aedh and nephew of Amirach, king of Ireland, in 624. St Feichin is said to have been abbot for some time. It was chosen to be the seat of one of the five bishoprics for Connaght at the Synod of Rathbreasail but the diocese was not recognised at the Synod of Kells and the name of no bishop has been recorded. The church and abbey at Cong were burned in 1114 and in 1137. The abbey was refounded for the Augustinians in 1134 by Turlough O'Connor, King of Connacht, or else by one of the O'Duffys. Of the church itself comparatively little remains, and the fine Romanesque doorway was inserted into the north wall in modern times. There is a fragment of a church with three lancet east windows. A doorway in the south wall leads to a three-storey tower with stairway. There are two fine round-headed windows. Beyond this is a vaulted room with a round-headed window and a round-headed doorway leads out. Like most of the rest of the building, it probably dates to around 1200, though the church was possibly built slightly later.

This doorway contains some very fine sculpture. It may be constructed from two separate doorways. The columns appear to be Romanesque but the arch of the doorway is pointed.

The best feature is the cloister which was also erected in the 1220s but has been reconstructed. Some of the capitals in the cloister were carved in the 19th century.

Beside the cloister is a very fine transitional doorway of the same period; it led to the Chapter House, which also has some fine windows. The decorated stonework is exquisitely executed, and is probably the finest work of its type in the west of Ireland.

Beside it is another doorway which is less ornate.

After the Dissolution, the Abbey passed into the hands of the Kings, and later passed to the Binghams, the O'Donnells and finally to the Brownes.

For details of other Augustinian Friaries click on the links below

Clare Abbey, Co Clare Killone, Co Clare Ballybeg, Buttevant, Co Cork Bridgetown, Co Cork Dungiven, Co Derry Clontuskert, Co Galway Dunmore, Co Galway Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry Callan, Co Kilkenny Kells, Co Kilkenny Adare, Co Limerick Rathkeale, Co Limerick Abbeyderg, Co Longford St Mary‘s, Drogheda, Co Louth Ballintubber, Co Mayo Errew, Co Mayo Ballyboggan, Co Meath Athassel, Co Tipperary St Mary‘s, Cahir, Co Tipperary Fethard, Co Tipperary

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