TheTown on the Ridge
Dungiven was formally called Baille-an-Mualidh “town on the ridge”, doisneven or dun-even, after the erection of o'cahan's castle in the townland of crebarky, which stood on the edge of a deep precipice. Other translations include
'Fort of the skins', or alternatively 'the pleasant mount'. The first historical reference to Dungiven was in the year
the first mention of a church in the area is a reference to 'the glen of the skins'.
Dungiven lies at the foot of Benbraddagh some 9 miles from Limavady. The priory at Dungiven built in the 12th Century, provided constant historical records until the 17th century. The town itself was established by Dermot O'Cahan and may have been only a collection of huts until the plantation of Ulster.
It is said that the last wolf ever seen in the northern part of Ireland was spotted in woods near Dungiven in 1693.
Plantation Times and Beyond
The year 1602 soon brought its disasters. On the 20 April 1602 Cowy Ballogh McRichard O'Cahan surrendered Dungiven Castle to English forces, which commanded Glenshane pass and an entry to O'Neill's territory. Plantation times was to see the Priory at Dungiven fallen into disrepair. However, it was restored in 1613, by scottish settlers and in the words of one writer 'was used for Protestant worship'. The town of Dungiven inself would have began during this period with the building of a bawn wall and other plantation style dewellings. In 1602 an English garrison was stationed and by 1611 Sir Edward Doddington has built an English style manor house within a bawn next to the church, which had been refurbished for protestant worship. Doddington remained as company agent when Dungiven was given to the Skinners Company in 1613.