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Irish: Machaire Rátha

Maghera Town Centre
Maghera is located in Northern Ireland
 Maghera shown within Northern Ireland
Population 3,711 (2001 Census)
District Magherafelt
County County Londonderry
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town MAGHERA
Postcode district BT46
Dialling code 028
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament Mid Ulster
List of places
Northern Ireland
County Londonderry

Maghera (pronounced , from Irish: Machaire Rátha, meaning "plain of the ringfort") is a town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Its population was 2,876 in 1991 and had risen to 3,711 in the 2001 Census. It is a commercial and educational hub for the surrounding villages of Swatragh, Tobermore, Upperlands, Gulladuff and Knockcloghrim. It is located in the civil parish of Maghera, which it was named after, and is part of the former barony of Loughinsholin.

The Slaughtneil/Carntogher area outside the town is unique for being the only rural community in Ireland outside of the official Gaeltachts where the Irish language is used as the primary language.


  • History 1
    • The Troubles 1.1
  • Demography 2
  • Places of interest 3
  • Transport 4
  • People from Maghera 5
  • Churches 6
  • Schools 7
    • Primary schools 7.1
    • Secondary school 7.2
      • Former secondary school 7.2.1
  • Sport 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


The Annals of Ulster say that the seat of the Cenél nEoghain was at Ráth Luraig in Maghera.

On 12 July 1830, Orange Order marches led to clashes between Orangemen and Ribbonmen in Maghera and Castledawson. Several Catholic homes were then burnt by Protestants following these clashes.[1]

The Troubles

Maghera suffered significant violence during the Troubles. In total, 14 people were killed, half of them members of the security forces and a further two as a result of family membership of the Ulster Defence Regiment. The Provisional Irish Republican Army were responsible for ten of the deaths.

Maghera Church of Ireland
The old St Lurach's Church


Maghera is classified as an intermediate settlement by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 2,250 and 4,500 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 3,711 people living in Maghera. Of these:

  • 28.6% were aged under 16 years and 13.3% were aged 60 and over
  • 49.3% of the population were male and 50.7% were female
  • 72.4% were from a Catholic background and 27.1% were from a Protestant background
  • 3.9% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.

For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service

Places of interest

Notable buildings in Maghera include St Lurach's Church, which was founded in the year 500AD, originally as a monastery. The town of Maghera grew up around this church. The importance of the monastery was such that Maghera was a bishop's seat in the 12th and 13th centuries.[2] However, the Church was raided by the Vikings and fell into disrepair and is now maintained by the Environmental Heritage Service. Within the ruins, as an inset to the west wall is a sculpture of the crucifixion, which is thought to date from the 10th century – making it one of earliest surviving representations of the crucifixion in Ireland. St Lurach is also the saint of the town.[3]


Maghera railway station opened on 18 December 1880, shut for passenger traffic on 28 August 1950 and shut altogether on 1 October 1959.[4]

People from Maghera


In St Patrick's Roman Catholic church there is a headstone remembering the large number of people who died in the parish during the Famine. In the local Church of Ireland parish of St. Lurach's there is a large inscribed bronze plate dedicated to the memory of the local men and women who died in the Great War. The town also has a Presbyterian church.


There are three primary and one secondary school in Maghera.

Primary schools

  • St Mary's Primary School, Glenview
  • Maghera Controlled Primary School
  • St Patrick's Primary School, Glen

Secondary school

Former secondary school

  • Maghera High School, which had an intake mainly from the local Protestant population, was shut in 2009 after a lengthy campaign by many locals to save it. Most of the remaining pupils were transferred to nearby Magherafelt High School.


  • The local Gaelic football club is Watty Graham's Gaelic Athletic Club.
  • The local soccer team is Maghera Strollers F.C.
  • The nearest golf driving range is at Tobermore.
  • The local leisure centre is Maghera Leisure Centre, on the Coleraine Road.
  • The local Cycling Club is Carn Wheelers
  • The local Cricket Club is Maghera Cricket Club.


  1. ^ "Parades and Marches – Chronology 2: Historical Dates and Events". Conflict Archive on the Internet. Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  2. ^ TG4 documentary
  3. ^ TG4 documentary
  4. ^ "Maghera station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 

External links

  • Maghera Old Church
  • Culture Northern Ireland
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