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Maghera
Maghera Town Centre.jpg
Maghera Town Centre
Maghera shown within Northern Ireland
Population 3,711 (2001 Census)
District
  • Mid-Ulster
County
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
NI Assembly
  • Mid Ulster
List of places
UK
Northern Ireland
County Londonderry

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.

History

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.

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 - geograph.org.uk - 561774
Maghera Church of Ireland
Maghera Church - geograph.org.uk - 222328
The old St Lurach's Church

Demography

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. 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.

Transport

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

Maghera Goods Shed, Downpatrick - geograph.org.uk - 350046
Maghera Goods Shed, now at Downpatrick railway station on the Downpatrick and County Down Railway.

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