Ulster Plantation Notes

From The Donegal Plantation and the Tír Chonaill Irish, 1610-1710 by Darren McGettigan, Maynooth Studies in Local History, No 93, Four Courts Press, 2010

Page 58:

Co. Donegal in 1610 was an overwhelmingly Gaelic territory with a very small number of English and Scottish soldiers and ecclesiastics present within the county. The county presented a runied appearance following the end of the Nine Years War and the O'Doherty revolt in 1608. The population was also largely leaderless due to the flight of the earls in 1607 and the events of 1608.

Page 15

The county was ripe for plantation.

Page 16:

County Donegal was divided into a number of areas. The barony of Kilmacrennan ... was reserved for English officers (servitors) and the native Gaelic Irish nobles who were to be given estates in the plantation. A 4,000 acre estate for Triunity College Dublin was also given to the university centred on the village of Kilmacrennan. The territory of Cinél Móen eas divided in two with the northern half, now called 'The precinct of Portlough' being reserved for the Scottish settlers, and the southern half 'The precinct of Lifford', being kept for English planters. 'The precinct of Boylagh' , was also allocated to the Scots. The entire O'Doherty peninsula of Inishowen was given to the lord deputy, Sir Arthur Chicheter ..

From Tyrone - History and Society by Charles Dillin and Henry A. Jefferies

Page 233:

Ballyboe = "Baile Bó" : Cow Land. Said to be 60 acres by some sources but varied. Often much more. Enough land to support a certain number of cattle and/or several families. The Baileboe was the most common measure of land in Co. Tyrone around 1600.

Some related measures in common use:

  • 1/3 of a baileboe was a sessiagh
  • 1 and 1/3 baileboes was a tullagh
  • 16 baileboes was a ballybatagh - rules by a sept and presided over by a Clan Leader

Page 247:

"The governmental scheme of plantation appeared initially to be rather inflexible, being primarily designed to impose English legal practice, social institutions, land tenure and ethnically British population and, of course, the Protestant faith on an area of Ireland which hitherto had been the most "Irish" and, from an English viewpoint the least governable. Although some of the most impractical ansd costly conditions of the official plantation scheme were simply ignored by the settlers (such as the constriction that the tenants were to live in villages within each estate), formal obligations were in fact modified when certain aspects proved to be unrealistic (such as the original policy of excluding all Irish from obtaining leases on the plantation estates); indeed in some respects the scheme disguised in a cloak of British nomenclature a remarkable continuity with the pre-existing Gaelic social structure and land divisions".


The area to be planted was divided up into baronies or precincts. Subdivided into Plantation Estates or Proportions

Strabane barony was given to Scottish undertakers. They were only allowed to plant English or Scottish servitors but the servitors task was largely to oversee those Irish who had received grants of land.

A good reference for the Plantation of Ulster: "Ulster Blood - The Story of the Plantation of Ulster" by Michael Sheane, 2005, Arthur A. Stockwell Ltd.