Irish Plantations c. 1550–1620


Map Code: Ax01859

The ‘plantations’ in Ireland were Crown-sponsored settlements of Protestant migrants on land confiscated from the unruly Irish clans. The system’s culmination occurred in Ulster under the Stuart king, James I. Here the settlement was organized by a mix of ‘Undertakers’ (wealthy colonists who ‘undertook’ to import tenants to populate and cultivate their holdings), ‘Servitors’ (ex-soldiers in the wars against the Irish rebels, aided by City financing) and the Anglican Church, which was bequeathed former Catholic Church lands. By the 1620s, around 100,000 colonists had arrived in Ulster, transforming the former Gaelic stronghold. Earlier Tudor plantations had rarely prospered. The first, in King’s and Queen’s Counties (1556), had been terrorized by the dispossessed O’Moores and O’Connors. In 1598 the vast Desmond estates in Munster (1586) were confiscated after the Geraldine Rebellion, but the Crown struggled to attract new settlers. Those that came were then driven from their land during the Nine Years’ War (1594–1603).

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