Dungiven Castle was the ancestral home of the O’Cahan clan who ruled the area between the 12th and 17th Century. Danny Boy, one of the most recorded melodies ever composed was originally called O’Cahan’s Lament. The original version begins with an O’Cahan bard Rory Dall O’Cahan lamenting the passing of his great Chief, Cooey na Gall O’Cahan whose death brought to an end the line of O’Cahan chiefs of Ulster. He is buried in the Old Priory just a few minutes walk from Dungiven Castle.
Finvola, Gem of the Roe, daughter of Chieftain Dermot O’Cahan, married Angus McDonald and moved to Scotland. When she died a Banshee wailed until her body was brought home to Dungiven and laid to rest. Some say even to this day the Banshee can be heard crying for Finvola in the depths of a winter night.