Conference: Cong Abbey, Canons, Canonesses, Characters and Crosses

Date: 19-21 August 2022

Cong Abbey: Canons, Canonesses, Characters and Crosses is a weekend conference drawing on the expertise of archaeologists, art historians, archivists and historians to explore the rich heritage of Cong Abbey. The conference is hosted by the Cong Moytura Heritage Society and will take place in the Crossroads Community Centre, Cong over the weekend of the 19 – 21 August.

Cong Abbey is one of the best-preserved medieval monastic foundations in Ireland. Founded early in the twelfth-century by the O’Conor kings of Connacht for the Regular Canons of St Augustine as part of a wide- ranging reform of the Irish church, it remained the order’s Irish stronghold until the death of its last member, Abbot Patrick Prendergast, in 1829.

This weekend conference will explore the architectural, artistic, economic, pastoral and spiritual activities of both the Regular Canons and their female counterparts the Regular Canonesses, in Cong and its environs over a span of seven centuries. Building on recent research on the Augustinian Canons in Ireland, it will situate a much-loved local monument in its wider national and international context.

Speakers and Talks:

Friday, 19 August 2022

Venue: Ryan’s Hotel

20.00: Marian McHugh – Introduction to the Conference

20.10: Robert Scott – An introduction to Cong Abbey

21.00: Music and Food

Saturday, 20 August 2022

Venue: Crossroads Community Centre

09.00: Registration

10.00: Guest Speaker – Welcome Address and Official Opening

10.30: Dr Kieran O’Conor The history and archaeology of the O’Conors of Connacht in the twelfth century

11.20: Break for refreshments

11.35: Dr Rachel Moss A Palimpsest in Stone: the buildings of Cong Abbey

12.25: Raghnall Ó Floinn Medieval Reliquaries from Galway and Mayo: The Cross of Cong and the relics of St. Jarlath

13.15: Lunch

14.15: Br Colmán Ó Clabaigh OSB Cong and the Canons: an abiding presence

15.05: Dr Tracy Collins Canonesses in Connacht

15.55: Break

16.10: Brigid Clesham A Colourful Character: George Macnemara of Cong, 1722–1760

16.50: Close

17.15: Scheduled visits to Cong Abbey with Robert Scott

Sunday, 21 August.

Venue: Inishmaine Abbey

10.00: Buses from the Crossroads to Inishmaine

11.00: Mass and Tour of Inishmaine Abbey


Conference open to anyone with an interest in History and in our Christian Heritage. Cost: €35 (incl. lunch).

Bookings: Website: