Magherafelt is a small town and civil parish in County Londonderry. It had a population of 8,800 in 2011. 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" comes from the Irish Machaire Fíolta, meaning "plain of Fíolta").
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. 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.
The Salters Company of London was granted the surrounding lands in South Londonderry in the 17th century as part of the Plantation of Ulster. The town then began to take on its current shape with a central diamond forming 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 conflict.
It is 40 minutes by bus from Cookstown.
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 passes through the town centre frequently leading to considerable congestion. It is off the A6 between Antrim (town) and Derry.
Goldline Bus 278 runs in university term-time, with one bus Su-F from Monaghan via Armagh, Moy, Dungannon, Cookstown, Magherafelt, Garvagh and Coleraine to Ulster University, Portstewart and Portrush.
There is no rail service.
- 1 Springhill House, 20 Springhill Road, near Moneymore, BT45 7NQ (on Moneymore to Coagh road, B18), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Pretty 17th-century 'Plantation' home with a significant costume collection. Adult £6.81, child £3.40.
- 2 Ballynahone Bog. One of the largest lowland raised bogs in Northern Ireland.
- At the foot of Broad Street is located The Bridewell. This building used to house the town's court-house and gaol. 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.
- The Old Thatch, 116 Hillhead Rd, Castledawson, ☏ . Offering a traditional Irish pub feel and a warm welcome.