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Banagher old church is situated on a very prominent site a quarter of a mile along the road and is constantly open to visitors. It is renowned for it's architecture, believed to have been built around the 12th Century. Local tradition ascribes the honour of its erection to a Saint Murrough O'Heney. His tomb in the graveyard is of significant importance being built with stone into the shape of a typical Irish Cottage. The sand around the tomb is reckoned to be sacred when lifted by a descendent of the O'Heney clan and is known all over the world as Banagher Luck Sand. It is said to have brought luck and success from horse racing to legal cases to lottery winnings.


No local history would be complete without a record of a local highwayman. Sean Crossagh was said to be typical of robbing the rich to give to the poor. He of course is said to have had 'safe houses' one being the farmstead adjacent to the old church. One of his greatest daring feats was his humiliation of a General Napier who had sneered at Sean. Sean and his tow sons set up an ambush outside Feeney village and disarmed a complete cavalry before making them walk to their headquarters in Derry City in their underclothes. Eventually Sean was betrayed and was hanged between his two sons and all were buried at Banagher Old Church.


In penal law times in the eighteenth century Roman Catholic priests were outlawed by the ruling Church of Ireland law makers. The dissenters (Presbyterians) were often sympathetic to the priests and some areas had safe houses for the priests to hide. Magheramore was one such 'safe house' and indeed the large wooden grain storage barrel which provided the refuge can be seen on the farm today.


The drinking water for Magheramore comes nowadays though the piped mains supply but sixty years ago it was carried mostly by the children of the house from the white well which is around half a mile away adjacent to a farm lane way. In the seventeen hundreds the well was renowned for it's healing properties and indeed was visited by many pilgrims. It is said the well was dedicated to Saint Murriagh O'Heney. Visitors can decide for themselves if the well still has its properties.


In megalithic times (3000 BC - over 5000 years ago) the local people constructed very elaborate burial sites, much of the time in prominent positions. One such megalithic tomb, now known as the Magheramore Cove Stones exists on the hill area of our lands. Several graves lay inside and a passage below this structure was said to be extensive. By the early eighteen hundreds the natural decay of the site resulted in bog vegetation of up to seven feet covering the site. Locals removed the bog by burning it for seven days and nights and then removed many of the large stones to be used as door and window heads in new buildings.


The Buchanans have lived in Magheramore for at least 300 years -- at least nine generations after two brothers arrived during the plantation of Ulster from Scotland. Really this was a home coming for the Buchanans as in 1016 Anselan O'Kyan from the southern part of the province of Ulster went to Scotland and became the first Buchanan. He had not gone to Scotland voluntarily as he had been fleeing from the ruling Danes after masterminding a daring massacre of upwards of one thousand drunken Viking soldiers by your Irish males posing as females in Limerick castle. King Malcolm of Scotland rewarded Anselan by making him the first Laird of Buchanan.


Magheramore is the current name of the townland (Anglican translation). Three hundred years ago it was Machremare (Ulster Scots) and previous to that (Irish).


Every area has in its history and abundance of local talent of bygone days, quite often from locals who did not benefit from secondary education. Brimm McGinnis was a well known poet who resided near the entrance to Banagher Glen from the early 1940's. He struck up a friendship with a fellow forestry worker who sung many of his poems. A famous humourous poem was about our next door neighbour, who often worked at Magheramore. He had bought a starved bullock from another neighbour. Sixteen verses detail the eventual fate of 'Rangy Ribs' - a full copy is available in every cottage.

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