Maghera (pronounced /ˌmɑːhəˈrɑː/ MAH-hə-RAH, from Irish: Machaire Rátha, meaning 'plain of the ringfort') is a small town in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Its population was 4,220 in the 2011 Census,[2] increasing from 3,711 in the 2001 Census.[3] It is situated within Mid-Ulster District, as well as the civil parish of Maghera, which it was named after, and the former barony of Loughinsholin.

Maghera Town Centre.jpg
Maghera Town Centre
Maghera is located in Northern Ireland
Location within Northern Ireland
Population4,220 (2011 Census)
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townMAGHERA
Postcode districtBT46
Dialling code028
PoliceNorthern Ireland
FireNorthern Ireland
AmbulanceNorthern Ireland
UK Parliament
NI Assembly
List of places
Northern Ireland
County Londonderry
54°50′38″N 6°40′23″W / 54.844°N 6.673°W / 54.844; -6.673Coordinates: 54°50′38″N 6°40′23″W / 54.844°N 6.673°W / 54.844; -6.673
Galwilly Bridge Over The Milltown Burn Located Outside Maghera In Glen Housing Estate.


The town dates back at least to the 6th century to the monastery founded by St. Lurach whose family were possibly evangelised by St. Patrick. The Annals of Ulster say that the seat of the Cenél nEoghain was at Ráth Luraig in Maghera. The church in Maghera is named after St Lurach.[4]

The town became a settlement for Scottish settlers in the 17th century who came into conflict with the indigenous residents. For example, 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.[5]

The TroublesEdit

Maghera suffered 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.


The town is part of the Mid-Ulster District Council. It is located within the Carntogher district electoral area (DLE) which contains the areas Lower Glenshane, Swatragh, Tamlaght O'Crilly, Valley and Maghera.[6] In the 2015 district elections, Carntogher DLE elected three Sinn Féin, one SDLP and one DUP representatives to the council.

Places of interestEdit

The old St Lurach's Church

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.[7] 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 the earliest surviving representations of the crucifixion in Ireland. St Lurach is also the saint of the town.[8] [9]


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 memorial dedicated to the memory of the local men and women who died in both world wars. The Presbyterian church has a brass plaque in memory of those who served during the First World War.[citation needed]

St. Mary’s RC Church, Maghera
Maghera Church of Ireland


Maghera railway station opened on 18 December 1880, shut for passenger traffic on 28 August 1950 and shut altogether on 1 October 1959.[10]





  • Eve Bunting (1928– ), children's author was born in Maghera; she later emigrated to the United States.
  • John Kelly (1936–2007), Sinn Féin politician; born in Belfast but moved to Maghera.


There are three primary schools and one secondary school in Maghera.

Primary schoolsEdit

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

Secondary schoolEdit


  • The local Gaelic football club is Watty Graham's Gaelic Athletic Club.
  • The local football 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. ^ The Online Scots Dictionary Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  2. ^ "Census 2011 Usually Resident Population: KS101NI - Table view". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). p. 6. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Census 2001 Usually Resident Population: KS01 (Settlements) - Table view". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). p. 5. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Maghera Parish Church". Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  5. ^ "Parades and Marches – Chronology 2: Historical Dates and Events". Conflict Archive on the Internet. Retrieved 28 January 2010.
  6. ^ "Mid-Ulster District Council". Retrieved 5 September 2019.
  7. ^ TG4 documentary
  8. ^ TG4 documentary
  9. ^ The Maghera and District Genealogical & History Society, accessed 3 July 2017
  10. ^ "Maghera station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 28 September 2011.

External linksEdit