Dungiven Castle, Dungiven. County Derry         1836

Dungiven Castle was the ancestral home of the O’ Cahan clan who ruled this area for hundreds of years. In 1607 Sir Donnell O’Cahan was implicated in treason and had his lands and titles confiscated. He escaped to mainland Europe at the time of The Flight of the Earls. This episode is reputed to inspire the song Danny Boy which was originally called ‘O’ Cahan’s Lament’. This went on to become one of the most recorded melodies ever composed. The present structure largely dates from 1836 and was built by Robert Ogilby who died before its completion. It was used for housing the US Army during World War II, and later was used as a dance hall during the 1950s and 1960s playing host to Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck amongst others. It later fell into such a state of disrepair that the local council decided to demolish it. A local pressure group however fought these plans and in 2001 The castle was re-opened to provide budget accommodation. In 2009 it underwent a complete makeover and become a 4* Castle Estate. The story continues…