Dungiven (from Irish: Dún Geimhin, meaning 'Gevin's fort') is a small town, townland and civil parish in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It is on the main A6 Belfast to Derry road. It lies where the rivers Roe, Owenreagh and Owenbeg meet at the foot of the 1,525 ft (465 m) Benbradagh. Nearby is the Glenshane Pass, where the road rises to over 1,000 ft (300 m). It had a population of 3,288 people in the 2011 Census, an increase of 10% over the 2001 population of 2,993. It is within Causeway Coast and Glens district council area.
|Population||3,288 (Census 2011)|
|Irish grid reference|
|• Belfast||53 miles (85 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Dialling code||028, +44 28|
There is evidence of settlement in the area for at least 1000 years. There may have been an abbey in the area around 700AD. The Augustinian abbey of St Mary's was built in the 11th century. Its ruins contain 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.
The town sprang up around Dungiven Castle and the Church of Ireland (Anglican church), 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 by-pass, 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.
The village is part of the East Londonderry UK Parliamentary constituency. The MP for the constituency since 2001 has been Gregory Campbell of the DUP. The UK constituency is coterminous with the Northern Ireland Assembly constituency of the same name. The five MLAs elected in 2017 were 2 DUP, 1 independent unionist, 1 Sinn Féin and 1 SDLP. It forms part of the Benbradagh district electoral area of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. In 2019 this area elected 3 Sinn Féin, 1 SDLP and 1 DUP councillors.
During The Troubles in Northern Ireland, seven people were killed in or near Dungiven in connection with the conflict, six of whom were members of the security forces. The one civilian, Francis McCloskey, was found beaten to death in disputed circumstances during street riots, in which the police were called to respond. He has sometimes been deemed as the first person killed in the last installment of the Troubles (1969-1997).
St. Patrick's College is the secondary school in the town. It is located on Curragh Road. St. Canice's is the primary school. Gaelscoil Neachtain is a co-educational, interdenominational Irish-medium primary school. In 2015, Gaelcholáiste Dhoire, an Irish-medium post-primary school, opened in Dungiven Castle.
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 Derry Senior Football Championship 7 times, and won the Ulster Senior Football Championship once, in 1997.
- Dungiven sits on the main A6 road and has good road links to Derry (29 km to the west) and Limavady (13 km to the north). A proposed by-pass for Dungiven, following a route to the south west of the town, has been marked-out since the 1973 Limavady Area Plan.
- Dungiven was the terminus of the Limavady railway, which closed in 1950. Dungiven railway station opened on 4 July 1883, closed for passenger traffic on 1 January 1933 and closed altogether on 3 July 1950.
- Francis Brolly (1938-2020), Musician and Sinn Féin MLA for East Londonderry
- Joe Brolly (b. 1969), lawyer and member of Derry's 1993 All-Ireland winning team; won All Stars in 1996 and 1997
- Mary Dillon (b. 1964), folk singer
- Cara Dillon (b. 1975), folk singer
- Kevin Lynch (1956-1981), hunger striker who died in 1981; the Dungiven hurling team was renamed Kevin Lynch's Hurling Club for him after his death
- Paul McCloskey (b. 1979), professional boxer, former British and European light welterweight champion
- Brian McGilligan (b. 1963), member of Derry's 1993 All-Ireland winning team; won All Stars in 1987 and 1993
- Geoffrey McGonagle (b. 1974), former Derry dual player
- Kieran McKeever (b. 1968), member of Derry's 1993 All-Ireland winning team; won an All Star in 2000
- Sister Aloysius McVeigh (1923-2008), Artist, iconographer and teacher
- John Mitchel (1815-1875), a 19th-century Irish patriot who inspired the Young Ireland Movement, was born at Camnish, between Dungiven and Burnfoot; the Mitchel Park area is named for him
- Frances Molloy (1947-1991), novelist
- John Eddie Mullan (1923-2008), former Derry player
- Eoghan Quigg (b. 1992), musician, singer
- Placenames Database of Ireland
- "Census 2011 Population Statistics for Dungiven Settlement". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Retrieved 23 July 2019.
- "Census 2001 Usually Resident Population: KS01 (Settlements) - Table view". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Retrieved 23 July 2019.
- "Dungiven Priory". Roe Valley. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
- "Dungiven profile". Culture Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 9 June 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- "Dungiven Settlement Designation". Planning Service - Draft Northern Area Plan 2016. Retrieved 25 June 2008.
- Sutton Index of Deaths - 1969, cain.ulst.ac.uk; accessed 5 May 2014.
- "St. Patrick's College". St. Patrick's College. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
- "St. Canice's Primary School". St. Canice's Primary School. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
- "Gaelscoil Neachtain". Gaelscoil Neachtain. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
- "Gaelcholáiste Dhoire". Gaelcholáiste Dhoire. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
- "St Canice's GAC, Dungiven". St Canice's GAC website. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- "Dungiven station" (PDF). Railscot–Irish Railways. Retrieved 12 October 2007.