Cong Abbey

Ireland»Connacht»Cong Abbey

Cong Abbey: The present church, and possibly the fragmentary cloister where the monks worked and prayed, belong to the rebuilding of the early 13th century. The north doorway of the church, and the elaborate doorways doorways that open onto the cloister from the east range of the monastery, may pre-date the attack by William de Burgo. The doorway with two fine windows on either side belongs to the chapter house, where the monastery's daily business was conducted as well as a chapter of the rule being read each day. This was also where the community gathered to confess their sins publicly. The sculpture in the abbey, which is some of the finest in Ireland, suggests links to French styles of the period.

The grounds of the abbey also contain a monks fishing house, probably built in the 15th or 16th century, on the bank of the River Cong leading towards nearby Lough Corrib. The house is built on a platform of stones over a small arch which allows the river to flow underneath the floor. There is a trapdoor in the floor which may have been used for a net, and the monks could sit beside the fireplace making the task of catching fish a little more comfortable. It is thought that a line was connected from the fishing house to the monastery kitchen to alert the cook to fresh fish.

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