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What is a Plantation? The English would defeat an Irish clan, confiscate their land, drive off the native people and plant the land with loyal English and Scottish settlers. Before the plantation The English king considered himself king of Ireland

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plantations in ireland
What is a Plantation?

The English would

defeat an Irish clan,

confiscate their land,

drive off the native

people and plant the

land with loyal English

and Scottish settlers

Before the plantation

The English king considered himself

king of Ireland

But, the English only controlled the

area around Dublin known as the Pale

Woodkerne (Irish soldiers) from

beyond the Pale attacked it

The Old English were disloyal

The Old English and Native Irish were


Plantations in Ireland

There were 6 main reasons for the plantations of Ireland

why did english monarchs want to plant ireland
Why did English Monarchs want to plant Ireland?
  • To extend control over Ireland beyond the Pale
  • Because the Irish were Catholic, they might side with Catholic Spain and France against England. The reformation made them enemies.
  • Because the Irish clans and Old English rebelled against the English, the English wanted to make Ireland loyal
  • It would be cheaper to plant Ireland with loyal settlers than have to repeatedly send armies
  • They believed the Irish were uncivilized. They believed English customs and laws were superior
  • They wanted land to enrich themselves and reward their loyal followers

Immediate cause – the O Moores and O Connors attack the Pale

Immediate cause –Desmond Rebellions

Laois and Offaly failed because

People were too scared of the O Moores & O Connors

They didn’t come and settle

Only 88 families settled

The new landowners had to rent to the Irish

Not enough settlers to protect the plantation from attack

The plantation failed to replace the Irish with loyal English settlers

Munster failed because

Not enough undertakers came to Ireland. Some even sold their estates and returned to England

Very few English came to settle so undertakers had to rent land to native Irish

The Irish constantly attacked the planter and drove them off

results even though they failed
Results: Even though they failed,
  • They did build plantation towns like Killarney and Tralee. These were centers of English law, language and customs
  • They introduced English farming methods and exported to England
  • The planters who survived became the new Protestant ruling class (the Protestant Ascendancy)
Fitzgeralds, Earls of Desmond

Presidents try to impose English law

Earl of Desmond held prisoner in London

Rebellion in 1560s and 1570s


Confiscation ½ million acres

Plantation in estates of 4000, 6000, 8000 and 12,000 acres

Land given to undertakers

Pay rent

Bring in English tenants

Practice Protestant religion

After 7 years, they will be able to defend estates without help


How was the Plantation done?

What happened?


Not enough undertakers

Too few English settlers

In the 9 Years War, the plantation was overrun by the native Irish


Plantation towns survived – centers of English law and culture

English farming methods

A new Protestant ruling class – the Protestant Ascendancy


The Ulster Plantation is the most important for exams

It is a Special Study (as is Columbus’ Voyage & Martin Luther and the Reformation)

ulster plantation
Before The Plantation

Ulster is very Gaelic

Brehon law


Irish language

Very little English influence

Hugh O Neill, Earl of Tyrone

Red Hugh O Donnell, Earl of Tirconnell

Defeat & Confiscation

English Adventurers seize lands

9 years War

Defeat of the Irish at the Battle of Kinsale 1607

Flight of the Earls

James 1 declare the Earls traitors and confiscates their land

4 million acres in Armagh, Cavan, Donegal, Derry, Fermanagh and Tyrone

Ulster Plantation
the plantation
Who got Land?



Trusted Irish gentlemen

London guilds

The Church of Ireland

The Irish?

The Irish went into the hills, bogs and forests

Bandits called woodkerne or tories

They attacked the planters

The Plantation


  • Undertakers undertook (promised) to
  • Build strongholds with stone castles and enclosed bawns
  • Build a village
  • Bring loyal Protestant settlers in from Scotland and England
  • They were not to take Irish tenants


Servitors were the men who’s served the king as officials or soldiers

They were allowed to take Irish tenants

  • 3.
  • Trusted Irish Gentlemen
  • Irish chiefs rewarded for siding with the English
  • Estates of 1000 acres
  • Twice the rent paid by undertakers


  • 4.
  • London Guilds
  • London Derry & Coleraine
  • Walled Plantation towns with diamond market place at center


Church of Ireland

results of the ulster plantation
Short Term

Success (80,000 planters)

English farming methods and new industries like linen lead to prosperity

Plantation towns like London Derry – centers of English trade, law, defense and culture

Long-term Results




Results of the Ulster Plantation
long term results
Long Term Results


  • The dispossessed Irish become republicans
  • The planters become loyalists
  • Northern Ireland is still part of Britain
  • Religion
  • Scots Presbyterians and Irish Catholics dislike each other
  • This is called sectarian hatred.
  • Catholics feel Irish. Protestants feel British
  • Culture
  • Plantation replaced the Irish language, law and customs with British
  • Today, nationalists play Irish sports, learn Irish language
  • Today, loyalists parade t celebrate the defeat of Catholics
cromwell plantation

Civil war in England

King Charles 1 is executed

Lord Protector is Oliver Cromwell


Revenge for the killing of Protestants during the rebellion in 1641

Cromwell hated Catholics

Irish Catholics had supported the king in the civil war

Cromwell needed land to pay soldiers and adventurers

Cromwell Plantation
what you need to know about cromwell in ireland
What you need to know about Cromwell in Ireland
  • Cromwell arrives with his army
  • His aim is to dispossess the Irish of their land
  • He passes the Act of Settlement 1652
  • Catholic landowners who supported the king lost all their land
  • Any Catholic who couldn’t prove he’s been loyal lost all their land
  • They could go ‘To Hell or to Connacht’
  • Their land was given to Cromwell’s soldiers and adventurers

Cromwell hoped to remove Catholics to Connacht. It didn’t work.

  • Many English adventurers sold their estates and left
  • Some soldiers married Catholics
  • Only Catholic landowners moved: labourers stayed and worked for the new landowners
  • After Cromwell, over 70% of the land was in Protestant hands
overall results of all the plantations
Overall Results of all the Plantations
  • Look back at Ireland before the Plantations (English control was in the Pale only)
  • Ireland was now firmly in English hands
  • Most of the land was in loyal English or Scottish (Protestant) hands
  • There was now a new Protestant Ascendancy who rule Ireland for the next 200 years
  • Penal Laws persecute Catholics and keep them poor