Irish: Dún Geimhin
Dungiven Main Street
Dungiven is a small town, townland and parish in County Londonderry. It is on the main A6 Belfast to Londonderry road. It lies where the rivers Roe, Owenreagh and Owenbeg meet at the foot of the 1,525 ft Benbradagh. Nearby is the Glenshane Pass, where the road rises to over 1,000 ft. It had a population of 2,993 people in the 2001 Census, an increase of 6% over 1991. Its name is from the Irish Dún Geimhin, meaning "Gevin's fort".
Dungiven sprang up around Dungiven Castle and the Church of Ireland church at the eastern end of the town, later spreading westwards along Chapel Road and Main Street towards the bridging point on the River Roe. Because of the River Roe's flood plain and the line of a proposed bypass, housing development has been mostly to the east and north of the town. It is an important service centre for the surrounding rural hinterland; offering educational, health, commercial, social, community and recreational facilities.
An interesting site in Dungiven is the 11th century Augustinian priory of St Mary's and the tomb of O'Cahan (Cooey na Gall O' Cahan), laid to rest in 1385. A thicket of thorn bushes hung with rags conceals a bullaun stone, visited for wart cures.
Between the 12th and 17th centuries the area was ruled by the Ó Catháin clan, one of the most influential clans in Ulster and respected throughout Ireland. In the early 17th century they built Dungiven Castle, which - having been substantially rebuilt in the 19th century - remains today as a restaurant and guesthouse. The world famous song Danny Boy is taken from a melody composed by the Ó Catháin bard, Ruairí Dall Ó Catháin. The original version concerns the passing of the Chief Cooey-na-Gall, whose death brought an end to the long line of O'Cahan chiefs.
Places of interest
- Near Dungiven are Banagher Glen (popular with birdwatchers) and Altaheglish Reservoir (an impressive lake set up in the mountains and surrounded by forest).
- At Dungiven Castle, built during the reign of James I on the south side of the town, there is a 20-acre Environmental and Conservation Park consisting of Victorian gardens, wetlands, woodlands, a duck pond and picnic area.
- Altahullion Wind Farm is near Dungiven and is owned by RES-Gen Ltd. It was designed and built by RES using local contractors and commissioned in 2003. Altahullion’s 20 turbines can generate up to 26MW. Electricity from the wind farm is sold to Belfast-based Energia who supply hospitals, schools and Northern Ireland businesses. The public can visit the site by following the signs from the A6 Dungiven to Londonderry road. There is car parking, an information board and a path up to the visitor turbine.
Dungiven Celtic F.C. is an association football club playing in the Northern Ireland Intermediate League.
Gaelic games are the most popular sports in the area. St Canice's Dungiven is the local Gaelic football club; the team plays at O'Cahan Park and have won the county Senior Football Championship seven times, and won the Ulster Senior Football Championship in 1997.
Kevin Lynch's is the local hurling club; they have won the county Senior Hurling Championship a record 22 times and are the current county champions, for the fourth successive year. The team plays at Kevin Lynch Park.
Dungiven is mentioned in the Brian Friel play Making History, as the place where Mabel Bagnel goes after the Siege of Kinsale.
- "Dungiven Settlement Designation". Planning Service - Draft Northern Area Plan 2016. http://www.planningni.gov.uk/AreaPlans_Policy/Plans/Northern/draft_plan/Volume2/Part6/Towns/Dungiven_settlementdesignation.htm. Retrieved 25 June 2008.
- Placenames Database of Ireland
- "Dungiven profile". Culture Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 9 June 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080609022346/http://www.culturenorthernireland.org/YourArea.aspx?location=444. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- "St Canice's GAC, Dungiven". St Canice's GAC website. http://www.dungivengac.com. Retrieved 18 April 2012.