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Maghera (pronounced /ˌmɑːhəˈrɑː/ MAH-hə-RAH, 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 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
Population3,711 (2001 Census)
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townMAGHERA
Postcode districtBT46
Dialling code028
PoliceNorthern Ireland
FireNorthern Ireland
AmbulanceNorthern Ireland
EU ParliamentNorthern 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



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.[2]

The TroublesEdit

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.

2011 Population TallyEdit

On Census day in 2011:

Places of interestEdit

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.[3] 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.[4]

In the town is the oldest linen mill in Ireland, the William Clark & Sons company founded in 1736.[5]


Maghera railway station opened on 18 December 1880, shut for passenger traffic on 28 August 1950 and shut altogether on 1 October 1959.[6]

People from MagheraEdit


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. Both churches have memorials to local victims on IRA violence. The Church if Ireland has memorials to Alan Clark and John Proctor murdered by the IRA . The presbyterian has a memorial window to all those UDR and RUC members murdered by the IRA.


There are three primary 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

Former secondary schoolEdit

  • 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.[why?] 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. ^ The Online Scots Dictionary Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  2. ^ "Parades and Marches – Chronology 2: Historical Dates and Events". Conflict Archive on the Internet. Retrieved 28 January 2010.
  3. ^ TG4 documentary
  4. ^ TG4 documentary
  5. ^ The Maghera and District Genealogical & History Society, accessed 3 July 2017
  6. ^ "Maghera station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 28 September 2011.

External linksEdit