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Desertmartin (/ˈdɛzərtˈmɑːrtɪn/,[1] from Irish Díseart Máirtín, meaning 'hermitage of St. Martin'[2][3]) is a small village in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. It is four miles from Magherafelt, at the foot of Slieve Gallion. In the 2001 Census Desertmartin greater area had a population of 1,276. It had a population of 2257 in 1837 and 3101 in 1910. It lies within Desertmartin parish, Mid-Ulster District, and the historic barony of Loughinsholin. Neighbouring settlements include Draperstown, Magherafelt, Moneymore, and Tobermore.


When County Coleraine was created in 1585, its administration was meant to be carried out in the town of Coleraine. However, the jail and courthouse were built in Desertmartin, the middle of the Barony of Loughinsholin, which then lay in neighbouring County Tyrone.[dubious ] After the Flight of the Earls the escheated land was transferred to County Coleraine. The enlarged county was renamed County Londonderry.[4][user-generated source?]

Religious buildings[edit]

  • St Patrick's, townland of Keenaght (Roman Catholic) (Old Chapel).
  • St Patrick's, townland of Keenaght (Roman Catholic) (New Chapel).
  • St. Mary’s, townland of Annagh and Moneysterlin (Roman Catholic) Church and adjacent Parochial House are landmark buildings. It is commonly referred to as Coolcalm after the former townland of same name, which is now part of Annagh and Moneysterlin.
  • Church of the Nazarene (a branch of the denomination of the same name based on Wesleyan tradition).
  • St. Comgall's Church (Church of Ireland) is a visually and historically significant building and a local landmark. It occupies the site of an older Medieval church and is a listed building.


Slieve Gallion[edit]

Desertmartin lies on the foot of Slieve Gallion, on the eastern edge of the Sperrin Mountains. It has two peaks: the southwestern peak at Glenarudda Mountain and Tintagh Mountain reaches a height of 528 metres (1,730 ft), and is the 397th highest peak in Ireland; the northeastern peak reaches a height of 496 metres (1,630 ft), and is the 469th highest peak in Ireland; it is also the easternmost mountain-top in the Sperrins.


Desertmartin railway station between Magherafelt and Draperstown opened on 20 July 1883, shut for passengers on 1 October 1930, and shut altogether on 3 July 1950.[5]


Tom Paulin (b. 1949) is a major Northern Irish poet, essayist, editor and lecturer, who has written a poem entitled Desertmartin.



  1. ^ Toner, Gregory: Place-Names of Northern Ireland, page 85. Queen's University of Belfast, 1996, ISBN 0-85389-613-5
  2. ^ Flanagan, Deirdre & Laurence: Irish Place Names, page 202. Gill & Macmillan Ltd., 2002. ISBN 0-7171-3396-6
  3. ^ Notes on the Place Names of the Parishes and Townlands of the County of Londonderry, 1925, Alfred Moore Munn, Clerk of the Crown and Peace of the City and County of Londonderry
  4. ^ BBC Local History
  5. ^ "Desertmartin station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-09-23.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°46′N 6°41′W / 54.767°N 6.683°W / 54.767; -6.683