June 19th, 2022
Dungiven Priory, accessed down a lane from the village and across a new bridge over the bypass. This place was the site of an early monastery. As with many ancient foundations it became an Augustinian Abbey following the. 12th century church reforms. The chancel was added in the 13th century and has a very fine gothic memorial inside and the remains of rib vaulting - an unusual feature in a small rural church. Traces of earlier Romanesque blind arcading remain at high level in the main body of the church. Tower house, now gone, added to the west end probably in the fifteenth century. This is likely to have been accommodation associated with the abbey and was associated with the O'Cahans at the end of the sixteenth century. In the Ulster Plantation of the early seventeenth century the site was taken over by Sir Edward Doddington who built a Manor House attached to the tower house. The drawing above shows this house, the abbey and tower and formal gardens to the west adjacent to the river at around that time. Today the tower and house are gone apart from foundations.
dungiven Standing Stone
Heritage re-presented. Suddenly more visible due to the new Dungiven bypass, is a standing stone at the top of a field as the road rises to the Belfast side of the village. its a good symbol of the long history of this place amid the new infrastructure. According to the records, this stone stands on top of a small mound which was described as a 'tumulus' and a 'barrow' in the Ordnance Survey memoirs of the 1830's. Two depressions have been noted in the side of the mound and a small flint instrument was found in one of these. Tradition holds that the stone was erected to mark an ecclesiastical assembly that was held here in 590 AD, at which St Columbikille was present. The stone was also used as the end point in a procession at Beltaine (May Eve) up to the mid nineteenth century. The Turus (pilgrimage) started at St Patrick's Well behind the current Bleach Green housing development, then went to a stone in the river before moving to the former Dungiven Priory and then finishing here.
Marks of Time
Sketches of buildings in the North West of Ireland and further afield with a little information about their history.