Cooey-na-gall Man or Myth
Cooey Prince of the O'Cahans
Cooey-na-Gall" buried probably at the tomb located at the Priory at Dungiven in the townland of Dungiven. Much confusion surrounds the life and death of this Cooey, caused by their having been more than one cooey. The name Cooey-na-Gall also causes much confusion with translations such as ("Hound of the Plain") "na" of and "gall" a foreigner. The evidence to support this can be found in the architecture of the tomb at Dungiven Priority with its "Foreign" design, which was common at places outside Ulster particularly at Iona, the resting place of the early Kings of Scotland. Another account says he was the scourge of the foreigner, Norse or Norman is unknown. Finally the foreign part maybe due to his possible marriage to a daughter of McDonald Lord of the Isles.
The Death of Cooey-na-gall
From the Annual of the Four Masters we learn that in the year 1378 that Cooey was captured by the English at the port of Coleraine and sent in chains to Carrickfergus. Where it is believed he escape 'Kane, Lord of Oireacht-ui-Chathain, died at the height of his consequence and glory". Another story details the death of Cooey, that while leading a body of troops returning from Co.donegal after fighting against the English. Cooey left the main body of this force and travelled without an escort towards his castle riding his war chariot, an ambush was sat and he was treacherously murdered near his home in Limavady.
Traditions Relating To Cooey-na-gall
Tradition of Strangemore
There is a townland in Dungiven called strange-more or Glanastrancher-more, and so called due to a Saxon of great size, strength and valour having been killed there by Cooey-na-Gall in person, the chief of the O'Cathains. The tradition relates to it as follows "At the time when that chief waged war with the saxonx in the north, a series of pitched battles took place near Dungiven. The Saxon warrior made a deadly stroke at one of the opposite O'Cathains but, missing his blow, broke his sword on the trunk of an oak tree. Cooey-na-Gall himself, taking immediate advantage of the defenceless state of the Saxon. Killed him and cut off his head.