Maghera Fair Day


It’s been a few weeks since I last posted. Life sometimes interrupts things.  As John Lennon put it, life is what happens while we are busy making other plans.

I hope that you are all keeping well and managing to cope in this mad world.

It’s wonderful to see so many finding and enjoying the website.  There was a record, for the website, two days ago – we had seven new visitors subscribe inside the space of a few hours.

Which reminds me, if you are on social media, or have a website, or participate in other forums, then please do post a link in those places, back to One Irish Rover.  It’s great to see so many new people from across the world finding the site.

Ok, back to today’s article which is about Maghera. The village was about seven miles from our farmhouse.

Back in 2020, I cleaned up, and added a vintage style frame, to an old Maghera Fair Day photo.  The original image was taken in 1909.

This really tied in well with an old newspaper letter I discovered this week. The letter was submitted to the Editor of the Coleraine Chronicle in November 1852, and referenced the village, and it’s fair day.

By the way, in case of any confusion, the writer uses the word ‘Tubbermore’.  He is referring, of course, to the nearby village called Tobermore.

Market Day in Maghera
The monthly fair day in Maghera, County Derry.

To the Editor of the Coleraine Chronicle
4th November, 1852.

Maghera, Miserable Looking Place

Sir, I have read, in former editions of your paper, reports of the Maghera flax and butter market, its splendid market places, and superior accommodation; in short, that the business and business places of the town had now become a model for any of its size in the county.

And, whilst reading these reports, I thought to myself — can it be possible that Maghera has undergone such a change in the few short years that have elapsed since I last visited it, when it was but miserable looking place, with little business done in it, and little accommodation for any kind of marketable produce?

Or, was the writer of these reports endeavouring to mislead the public by eulogising in such a manner?

There’s Been Big Changes

Business led me that way on the last fair day (28th October 1852); and, after stopping for a few minutes at the Hotel to have some refreshment, I took a stroll through the town, in order to see if Maghera was all that was said about it.

You cannot imagine my surprise at the change I beheld.

Its shops are greatly improved, and that day were crowded to excess; its flax market was the largest that I have seen in any place, new market places having been erected since I last visited it; and I have never seen better accommodation by way of storage, or such facilities for weighing.

Now, whilst I give the people great praise for the improvement made, I cannot help stating that there are few things which still require improvement before it becomes all that is said about it.

Some Further Recommendations

I know not whether the fault lies at the door of the inhabitants or not.

In the first place, the streets are awfully dirty; second, the street leading to Tubbermore is so choked up with rubbish and stones, that a person walking through it at night, is in danger of breaking their neck.

I think it would be well for the County Surveyor to pay it visit, and try what he could do in having such a nuisance removed; and, if it does come not within the range of his influence, to have these nuisances removed, I would recommend the inhabitants to have the town put under the Lighting and Cleansing Act.

Third, the cattle market-place wants improvement. I went to see it; but, before I had got far through it, I was obliged to make a retreat with all possible speed. I have never seen a worse one in any place.

It seems to me as if it had been used for a quarry for many years. One part of it is so rough and uneven that persons can scarcely keep their feet upon it; while in another it is covered with holes or ponds full of mud and water, averaging, to all appearance, from four to six feet in depth; so that I think it would be well to have life and property insured before entering it.

Conclusions

Before concluding, I would say to the people of Maghera — When you have improved your town so much, and have increased its business, provide yourselves with a good cattle market-place; have your streets kept clean, and remove the stones and rubbish off your street leading to Tubbermore; and I will say, with the writer of those reports, that Maghera will be a model for any town of its size in the county.

Hoping you will excuse me, Mr. Editor, for trespassing much on your time and space. 

A Traveller.

Here’s an interesting video of the village made by Maghera Heritage and Culture. 

And another video, made by ‘Ireland From the Sky’

 

 

Trudger

"I have spread my dreams beneath your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."

3 thoughts on “Maghera Fair Day

  1. Fascinating blog and video. Thanks for all your research and for posting. Great reading and watching

    1. Thanks, Chris, for the kind words. I wasn’t around for a few weeks, so it is good to get back to the keyboard and get something published.

      All my best regards.

  2. I was once in Maghera as a schoolboy on holiday with my parents, early 60s. Mother and I came from one shop to find my dad standing outside the hardware shop laughing. Asking what was so funny he said, look at the basket. There was a basket on the pavement outside the shop with a sign reading. Odd socks, a shilling a pair. How can they be a pair if they’re odd !!! Silly but he thought it funny. 😁😁😁

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