The monastery of Cong was founded in the early 7th century. It was, however, destroyed and rebuilt a couple of times. It was rebuilt after a fire in the early 12th century and rebuilt again after 1203 when the Norman knight William de Burgo attacked the town. The remains that we can see today belong to the rebuilding of the early 13th century.
The carvings in the abbey are similar to medieval sculpture in western France and are considered to be among the finest in Ireland.
The name Cong comes from the Gaelic word Conga which means a narrow neck of land, in this case the narrow passage between two lakes: Lough Corrib and Lough Mask.