Originally, a monastery which was founded by St. Feichin in the 6th century, existed on the site of Cong abbey. In 1120, the high king of Connacht, Turlough O’Connor, chose the site for a Royal Augustinian abbey to be built.
The ruins of the Royal abbey of Cong, provide some of the finest examples of early architecture in Ireland, displaying detailed craftsmanship through its Gothic style windows, Romanesque doors, clustered pillars and arches, standing columns and floral capitals.
It was at the abbey, that Rory O’Connor, the last high King of Ireland died and was buried (his remains were later moved to Clonmacnoise). In 1542, the abbey was suppressed in the reign of Henry VIII of England. The abbey later fell into ruin but was restored in the 1850’s by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness (a former owner of Ashford Castle).