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Magherafelt facts for kids

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Magherafelt, near town center.jpg
Magherafelt, near the town centre.
Magherafelt is located in Northern Ireland
Population 8,805 (2011 Census)
• Belfast 35 mi (56 km)
  • Mid-Ulster
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BT45
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
Northern Ireland
County Londonderry
54°45′N 6°37′W / 54.75°N 6.61°W / 54.75; -6.61

Magherafelt (from Irish: Machaire Fíolta, meaning "plain of Fíolta", [ˈmˠaxəɾʲəˈfʲiːlt̪ˠə]) is a small town and civil parish in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It had a population of 8,805 at the 2011 Census. 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 has been documented as a town since 1425. Following the Plantation of Ulster, a central diamond has formed the heart of the town. During The Troubles in the late 20th century, 11 people were killed in or near Magherafelt in connection with the troubles.



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.


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

2001 Census

Magherafelt is classified as a small town by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 4,500 and 10,000 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 8,372 people living in Magherafelt. Of these:

  • 27.1% were aged under 16 years and 13.7% were aged 60 and over
  • 48.7% of the population were male and 51.3% were female
  • 56.2% were from a Catholic background and 41.8% were from a Protestant background
  • 3.4% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.

For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service


  • Joseph Burns – an Ulster Unionist member of the Parliament of Northern Ireland from 1960 – 1973
  • Paul Charles – novelist, music promoter and talent agent
  • Peter Doherty – former footballer and manager of Northern Ireland
  • Richard Ferguson – barrister and politician
  • General Fiasco – indie rock band
  • Barry Gillis – current Derry Gaelic footballer
  • Monsignor Laurence Higgins – former Vicar General of the Diocese of St. Petersburg and founder of St. Lawrence Catholic Parish in Tampa, Florida
  • Harry Gregg – former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper
  • Aaron Hughes – current professional Association Footballer
  • Willie McCrea – politician and a member of the Democratic Unionist Party
  • Terry McFlynn – a current football player for Sydney FC and former Northern Ireland Under 21 player
  • Colm McGurk- All Ireland medalist in gaelic and hurling played for Derry along with brother Johnny McGurk man of the match 1993
  • Mickey Niblock – former Derry Gaelic footballer
  • Laura Pyper – actress (Hex, Reign of Fire and Headrush)
  • Dean Shiels – professional association football player
  • Kenny Shiels – current manager of Derry City
  • Sir James Starritt, KCVO – Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis from 1972–75


At the 2011 census, there were 8,805 people living in Magherafelt. This represented an increase of 5.2% on the Census 2001 population of 8,372. 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.


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.

Notable buildings

The Bridewell, Magherafelt - - 573457
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.


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