DUNGIVEN, some twenty miles southeast of Derry, is a fairly unremarkable town, though it does harbour one or two ruins of interest, including the ruined Augustinian Dungiven Priory. Originally a stronghold of the O’Cahan clan, Dungiven was given to the Skinners’ Company of London to settle in the seventeenth century. The remains of the O’Cahan fortifications are incorporated into the newly restored castle, whose battlemented outline gives Dungiven a particularly historic aspect when approached from the south. The castle dates back to 1839 and is set in 22 acres of parkland with views across to the Sperrins. During World War II, it was used as a dance hall by American troops, and in 1971 it was the scene of an attempt to set up an independent Northern Ireland parliament. Following restoration work, it now houses upmarket guesthouse accommodation and a restaurant.
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