Adam Clarke, the celebrated Methodist preacher, who was born at Moybeg just outside Tobermore in 1760/62, and who lived for a few years just outside Maghera wrote (upon a return visit to the area in circa 1807) “From Castle-Dawson I proceeded toward Maghera, and stopped to view the place where I had spent the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth years of my checkered life. Half the house in which we lived, one of the best in that country, is pulled down I walked through the grounds where I had laughed and cried, sought birds’ nests, looked for fairies’ haunts, made good resolutions, and spent the most happy (and, perhaps, the most innocent) period of my life. Though I had left that place when about eight years of age, yet I remembered every hill and every hedge where my brother and I used to see the fairies’ nocturnal fires. The orchard, from which I had eaten often of the choicest fruit, no longer exists. Zion is ploughed like a field. The emotions to which these scenes now gave birth cannot be described They connect the long interval between four years of age and fifty … To the poor woman I gave three tenpenny pieces, who received them as from heaven, and, addressing the child, said, ‘See, my dear, God has sent you a new coat by this gentleman; and may the blessing of God rest upon him and his family forever! ‘ … We soon got to Maghera, — looking over which before dinner, went to the quondam [former] dwelling of Dr. Bernard, the bishop of Limerick, celebrated in Boswell. This is also in a state of ruin; nothing like its former self, except the great beach-tree. Left the place with reflections not the most pleasant … “
Banner of Ulster – Friday, 10 March, 1843
DRAPERSTOWN, TOBERMORE, AND MAGHERA FARMING SOCIETY. — The annual ploughing match of this Society took place at Macknagh, near Maghera, on Monday, 27th February. The day being favourable for ploughing, great numbers were assembled to witness the proceedings, amongst whom were the Rev. William Spencer Knox, the Rev. James S. Knox, James J. Clark, Esq., R. L. Malverer, Esq., and many other gentlemen who have long very zealously and efficiently exerted themselves in supporting and promoting the interests of the Society. Thirteen well-appointed ploughs started, and finished their respectable lots in due time. The judges — Messrs. David M’Kane, John Brooks, and James Duff — after a most careful and attentive inspection, awarded the Society’s premiums in the following order: — 1st premium and the Silver cup to Mr. Massey M’Elree, plough held by himself; 2d, to Mr. David Kenning, plough held by his son; 3d, to Mr. Samuel M’Gown, plough held by his servant; 4th, Mr. Robert Wallace, plough held by his son; 5th, Mr. Samuel M’Elree, plough held by his servant; 6th, Mr. James Paul, plough held by his servant; 7th, Mr. P. Duffy, plough held by his son; 8th, Mr. T. A. Dickson, plough held by his servant; 9th, Mr. Abraham Kennedy, plough held by his servant; 10th, Mr. W. Young, plough held by his servant. In the evening, the Society met in the Maghera Hotel, and sat down to an excellent dinner, prepared by Mr. Mulholland, in his best style. James J. Clarke, Esq., presided, and in the course of the evening made many useful and highly interesting observations relating to the Society, and the means of extending this usefulness. The cloth being removed, and the health of the Queen and many other loyal toasts being given and duly honoured, the health of the “Judges of the day” was proposed and drank with great enthusiasm, all present vieing with each other in testifying the high opinion entertained of the superior kill skill and integrity of the judges. The health of the several friends and supporters of the Society, some of whom were unavoidably absent, was given and responded to in the most cordial manner. “The successful candidates,” “The unsuccessful candidates,” and many other toasts, were given and replied to in the most friendly spirit imaginable,. Several challenges for stock and crops were given and accepted. The meeting then separated, the greatest harmony and good feeling having prevailed throughout the entire proceedings.