Cong Walking Tour: 17 Mar 2016

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

1. Pat Cohan Bar: Corned Beef and Cabbage does not appear to exist in Ireland, the closest thing to it (and not bad at that) is Bacon and Cabbage (Irish bacon is quite similar to Canadian bacon). This is a good place to have some, especially if it’s St. Patrick’s Day (which it was). This epicenter of Quiet Man locations only opened for business in Sep 2008. The interior is completely different than the movie and unfortunately lacks some soul, as I cannot imagine John Wayne at the (small) bar having some of the “black beer”.

2. Squire Danagher’s Bar (at the Danaghers Hotel Bar & Bistro): This is a fairly authentic Irish bar that has spirit and atmosphere. Generally there will be entertainment and a nice fire going in the bar area. An extensive collection of Irish whiskey and Scottish whisky.

3. Lydon’s Bar (at the Lydon’s Lodge): Pronounced “Lid-ens”. A nice bar that serves good food.

4. The Crowe’s Nest: According to Quiet Man canon, John Ford made the cast swear off alcohol during the filming. When filming was complete John Wayne selected this place to tie one on.


There are two pubs located about five minutes from Cong (by car) in a town called The Neale (pronounced “the Neal-ee”). Make a left at the Cong Market Cross and take R345 out of town, make a left at the traffic circle and then a left at R334. On the left you will find:

- Mellotte’s Bar and Lounge (pronounced “Mell – ets”): The proprietor Richard Mellotte is the son of Big Joe Mellotte who was John Wayne’s stand in and stunt double for some of the racing scenes (read all about him from newspaper clippings on the wall of the bar).

- Gibbons Pub: About 100 feet down past Mellotte’s on the same side of the street.


Miscellaneous:

a) An Post (the Irish Post Office): A good place to get stamps for your postcards (@ €1.10 for postcards back to the US). The An Post does not accept US credit cards and does not exchange currency.

b) Lilly's Gifts: Store hours are written on the door. Note: these hours are just guidelines as the store may open a wee bit later than noted.

c) Gas Station: O’Connor’s gas station. Accepts credit cards but is not open 24 hours.

d) Cong Market Cross: [1] Sometimes known as “O’Duffy’s Cross”. Very little of the original cross remains. It had a square base with an inscription in Medieval Irish. This inscription is now very weathered and almost illegible. The inscription is now carved on the restored shaft. It reads:

“OR DO NIAHOL AG DO GILLIBARD O DUBHTHAIGH RAIBH ABAIDDE AGT CUNGA” Pray for Niahol and for Gillibard O’Duffy who were abbots of Cong

Notes:

- There are no ATMs (or currency exchange) located in Cong. The nearest ATM is in Clonbur (take R345 north out of town, past the gas station, stay on it for @ 5 minutes)

- Guinness is available in every bar mentioned above. If you want a lager your options are limited to Carlsberg, Heineken, or local craft beer.

-A great stopover on the way from Dublin is Strokestown, home to the Strokestown House, Gardens & National Famine Museum. In the age of Downton Abbey, the tour of the manor house is fascinating and the museum details the horror of the Famine. I stayed at the Westgate B&B (solid), hit a number of the pubs (Kennedy’s Hay Loft, J Beirne), and dined at the Percy French Hotel.

-Required Reading: The Quiet Man by Maurice Walsh, from which the movie was based.

-Required Watching: what else . . .


[1]Not to be confused with the Cross of Cong which is an early 12th-century Irish Christian ornamented cusped processional cross that was housed in the Cong Abbey @ 12thcentury.


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