Overview

The lands were formally part of the Ashford Estate which were owned by the Guinness family until 1939. This is a very interesting site which combines scenic walks, historic buildings with forest and water. On entering the abbey grounds, one is taken back in history. The last High King of Ireland, Rory O Connor lived here in the old abbey for the final years of his life and reign.

The Abbey grounds have many fine specimens of Yew that are hundreds of years old. On reaching the river, cross over the small bridge that leads onto the main river. To your left, you will see a small stone building by the edge of the river. This is known locally as “the Monks fishing house”. It was here that the monks from the abbey spent time in prayer and meditation and, at the same time, tried out their fishing skills.
On passing over the” Abbey bridge”, you enter the forest by going through an attractive stone gateway. Follow the nature trail which is signposted through the “wilderness”. Many of the old trees here were planted by Lord Ardulan who lived in the nearby Ashford Castle. Many of these trees are over 140 yrs old.
The area has many fine caves eg “Teach Aille” which is reputed to have been used by the monks as a fridge or larder, due to its low temperatures in the summer months. “Pigeon Hole Cave” can be accessed by descending the stone steps into the bowels of the earth. The water that you see flowing at the bottom is, in fact, the waters of Lough Mask travelling underground towards Lough Corrib.
Some fine examples of stone viaducts are to be seen along the route. Also just off the nature trail is the Guinness tower which is circa 20 metres high and can be accessed by narrow stairway.

Coillte are in the process of carrying out repairs to the Chalet and there will be some restrictions for a time.
Please abide by all warning and safety signage.
We thank you in advance for your co-operation.

NOTICE: Due to storm Ali, the forest walks in Cong and Clonbur are CLOSED for a period to clear fallen trees, please respect all signage.

Adjacent to the village of Cong.


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Archaeological

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Car parking at Cong Village.

trail map

Nearby pit stops