An American Girl In Ireland: Cool Things to Do in Cong

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Hi, readers! Sorry for the stretch of time between this post and the last. Between my annual writing conference, work, book planning and graduation season, June has been a pretty crazy month. Now I’m back and super excited to share one of my favorite excursions in Ireland you need to check out: Cong.

Straddling Co. Mayo and Co. Galway, I think the village of Cong is one of Ireland’s best kept secrets. Home to only 60 residents, it may seem like a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of place. However, this tiny town is actually a piece of Hollywood history. It has made a name for itself as the filming location of the 1952 film The Quiet Man. Starring legends Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne, this love story between a retired American boxer Sean Thornton and a feisty Irish woman Mary Kate Danaher has been a beloved classic for generations. While I’m not as into the film as my mom and my grandparents, I’m the first to admit that my time in Cong is one of my favorite memories from my trip to Ireland. It is a really cool place to experience with a an authentic Irish charm you will fall with.

Whether The Quiet Man is your favorite film, you love Hollywood history, or you are just looking for something unique to do, here are a few things to check out on your visit to Cong.

Visit The Quiet Man Museum.

Immerse yourself in movie magic with a visit to The Quiet Man Museum. The museum itself is a replica of the cottage Sean Thornton buys in the film. (The actual cottage from the film is in ruins, but if you are feeling adventurous, you may be able to find someone who can give you directions to where it stood.) Inside, you’ll find a beautiful recreation of the cottage’s interior along with a collection of movie memorabilia. You can even snap a few pictures in reproductions of Sean and Mary Kate’s costumes. I also highly recommend taking the guided walking tour offered by the museum. Not only do you get behind-the-scenes stories and to see filming locations you may have missed, you get to enjoy a truly lovely walk through the town of Cong.

Click here for hours and ticket prices.

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Hit the museum gift shop.

Okay, pretty much every attraction has a gift shop. However, this one is my personal favorite. After you’ve finished exploring the museum, head upstairs to check out the a wide array of Quiet Man themed products perfect for you or the film fan back home. In addition to tea towels, posters, and postcards, there is an official line of Quiet Man jeff caps and scarves John Wayne would be proud to wear and a beautiful collection of vintage-style jewelry inspired that will help you channel your inner Maureen O’Hara.(My mom and I bought both.) It is a one stop shop for all things The Quiet Man.

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Pose with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.

Just how much does Cong embrace its Hollywood past? Enough to erect a bronze statue to John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in the middle of town. After your tour and trip to the museum, be sure to snap a pic posing next to one of Ireland’s most famous film couples. Grab onto O’Hara’s hand or wrap your arms around Wayne’s waist. (Let’s face it, ladies. John Wayne is still a heartthrob even when he’s made out of bronze.) Traveling with your significant other? Have him literally sweep you off your feet for a sweet shot.

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Stand in two places at once.

Have you ever wanted to be in two places at once? Just steps from The Quiet Man museum, you’ll find a simple bridge that runs over the River Cong, the dividing point between Co. Mayo and Co. Galway. Not only is this the perfect place for some really great pictures, straddling the line between two different counties is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences you’ll have a hard time finding anywhere else.

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