Magherafelt, near the town centre.
|Population||8,805 (2011 Census)|
|o Belfast||35 mi (56 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Magherafelt (from Irish: Machaire Fíolta, meaning "plain of Fíolta", IPA:['m?ax?'f?i:lt]) 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. 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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,Spires CC Cycling Club. the Mid Ulster Swimming Club and the Magherafelt District Motorclub.