Magherafelt (/ˌmæhərəˈfɛlt, ˌmækə-/ MA-hə-rə-FELT, MAK-ə-; from Irish Machaire Fíolta, meaning 'plain of Fíolta', pronounced [ˈmˠaxəɾʲə ˈfʲiːl̪ˠt̪ˠə])[2] is a town and civil parish in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It had a population of 9,071 at the 2021 Census.[3] It is the biggest town in the south of the county and is the social, economic and political hub of the area. It is part of Mid-Ulster District.

Magherafelt town centre.
Magherafelt is located in Northern Ireland
Location within Northern Ireland
Population9,071 (2021 Census)
• Belfast35 mi (56 km)
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtBT45
Dialling code028
PoliceNorthern Ireland
FireNorthern Ireland
AmbulanceNorthern Ireland
UK Parliament
NI Assembly
List of places
Northern Ireland
County Londonderry
54°45′N 6°37′W / 54.75°N 6.61°W / 54.75; -6.61



Magherafelt has been documented as a town since 1425. An earlier name for the area was Teach Fíolta - ‘Fíolta’s (monastic) house’. This would suggest that there was a monastic settlement here under the leadership of Fíolta.[4] The site of the medieval parish church may be marked by the ruins of a later church and graveyard at the bottom of Broad Street.[5]

The Salters Company of London[6] was granted the surrounding lands in South Londonderry in the seventeenth century as part of the Plantation of Ulster. Subsequently, the town began to take on its current shape with a central diamond forming the heart of the town.[7]

During The Troubles in the late 20th century, 11 people were killed in or near Magherafelt in connection with the conflict.



The town had its own Magherafelt District Council. On 1 April 2015, it was merged with Cookstown District Council and Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council under local government reorganisation in Northern Ireland becoming Mid-Ulster District Council. The Mid Ulster District Council has 40 councillors of which five are elected by the electors of Magherafelt. In the 2019 Mid Ulster District Council election, the five elected councillors included two members of Sinn Féin, one member of the SDLP and two members of the Democratic Unionist Party.

It is located within the Mid Ulster (Assembly constituency) in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Mid Ulster (UK Parliament constituency). The current MP is Francie Molloy of Sinn Féin.

Notable buildings

The Bridewell, Magherafelt - - 573457

At the foot of Broad Street is located The Bridewell. This building previously housed the town's court-house and gaol (jail). The name Bridewell is a common name in Britain and Ireland for a prison (see Bridewell Palace). It has since been refurbished and now houses the town's library and tourist centre.[8]







Magherafelt lies on the A31 route which connects the south west of the province (Tyrone, Fermanagh) to the north east (Coleraine, Ballymena etc.). Traffic from north and south used to pass through the town centre frequently leading to considerable congestion. In the 1970s a bypass was proposed route which was eventually funded in 2013 and completed in 2016. The road is a single-carriageway around the eastern edge of the town connecting Moneymore Road and Castledawson Road. The old road through the town became the B40 when the road opened.[14]



Magherafelt railway station opened on 10 November 1856, shut for passenger traffic on 28 August 1950 and shut altogether on 1 October 1959.[15]


St Mary's Grammar School, Magherafelt

There are seven primary schools serving the area.[citation needed] Local secondary schools include St. Mary's Grammar School, Saint Pius X College, Rainey Endowed School, Sperrin Integrated College and Magherafelt High School.[citation needed]



Magherafelt has several sporting teams, including Magherafelt Reds, O'Donovan Rossa Magherafelt GAC, the Rainey Old Boys Rugby Club and Magherafelt Sky Blues F.C. There is also the Mid Ulster Athletic Club, the Mid Ulster Swimming Club and the Magherafelt District Motorclub.[16]


National Identity of Newry residents (2021)
Nationality Per cent
Northern Irish

2021 Census


The town of Magherafelt encompasses the Super Data Zones of Magherafelt_A, Magherafelt_B and Magherafelt_C according to the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.[17] At the time of the 2021 census, there were 9,071 people living in Magherafelt.[3] Of these:

  • 59.9% were from a Catholic background and 31.5% were from a Protestant or other Christian background.[18]
  • 30.9% indicated that they had a British national identity,[19] 36.4% had an Irish national identity,[20] and 30.4% had a Northern Irish national identity.[21]

2011 Census


At the time of the 2011 census, there were 8,805 people living in Magherafelt.[22] This represented an increase of 5.2% on the Census 2001 population of 8,372.[23] Of these:

  • 21.75% were aged under 16 years and 12.44% were aged 65 and over.
  • 48.65% of the population were male and 51.35% were female.
  • 59.73% were from a Catholic background and 35.67% were from a Protestant or other Christian background.
  • 5.65% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.
  • 36.98% indicated that they had a British national identity, 33.87% had an Irish national identity, and 30.45% had a Northern Irish national identity.

Notable people


See also



  1. ^ The Online Scots Dictionary Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  2. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland
  3. ^ a b "Census 2021 Super Data Zone". NISRA. Retrieved 24 August 2023.
  4. ^ "A short history of the parish of Magherafelt". Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  5. ^ "Place Names NI". Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  6. ^ "The Salters Company". Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  7. ^ "A short history of the parish of Magherafelt". Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  8. ^ "Your Pace and Mine - Bridewell's History". Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Church of Our Lady of the Assumption". Church of Our Lady of the Assumption. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  10. ^ "St. Swithin's Church". St. Swithin's Church. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  11. ^ "First Presbyterian Church". First Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  12. ^ "Calvary Free Presbyterian Church". Calvary Free Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  13. ^ "History". Magherafelt Baptist. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  14. ^ "A31 Magherafelt Bypass". Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  15. ^ "Magherafelt station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
  16. ^ "Magherafelt Motorclub - Where the action is".
  17. ^ "Magherafelt". NISRA. Retrieved 24 August 2023.
  18. ^ "Pivot your table". NISRA. Retrieved 24 August 2023.
  19. ^ "Pivot your table". NISRA. Retrieved 24 August 2023.
  20. ^ "Pivot your table". NISRA. Retrieved 24 August 2023.
  21. ^ "Pivot your table". NISRA. Retrieved 24 August 2023.
  22. ^ "Census 2011 Population Statistics for Magherafelt Settlement". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  23. ^ "Census 2001 Usually Resident Population: KS01 (Settlements) - Table view". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). p. 5. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  24. ^ Peter Doherty Archived 13 January 2013 at
  25. ^ Gageby, Patrick. "Johnston, William John". Dictionary of Irish Biography. Retrieved 6 May 2024.