Located in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, Magherafelt is a town and civil parish steeped in history. Many may be surprised to learn that Magherafelt is the largest town in the south of County Londonderry, since its population is estimated at just over 8,000 people. However, its relative size has made it attractive for social, political, and business reasons, and makes it an easy base from which to tour Northern Ireland.
Many visiting Magherafelt may marvel at its layout, which places the center of the town inside a diamond shape, with the town being built outward from that shape. The town dates back to the year 1425. Magherafelt was a plantation town in the 16th and 17th centuries. This term may confuse foreign visitors-plantations at that time and place were the colonization of land confiscated by the English crown. Plantation towns, then, tended to have a large percent of their population that was from England or the Scottish Lowlands.
Many are likely familiar with the Northern Irish Troubles that began in the 1960s and continued for several decades. Magherafelt was not left untouched by the Troubles, and a total of eleven people were killed in violence related to that conflict. Notably, in 1993, a car bomb placed by the IRA caused significant damage to the town’s centre, entirely demolishing a bus station and an Ulster Bank branch, which have since been redeveloped.
Attractions and Information
Magherafelt’s central location in Northern Ireland allows visitors to get around easily. The town is a major transport corridor and has convenient access to cities and tourist attractions throughout Northern Ireland.
Magherafelt itself has plenty of ways for visitors to unwind, including excellent pubs and dining and a multiplex cinema. There is plenty of recreation available in Magherafelt, including beautiful scenery for walkers (and walking tours of the town), cyclers, and horse riders, and championship standard fishing on the River Bann. For golfers, Magherafelt includes a driving range and many golf courses.