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The Donegal Plantation and the Tír Chonaill Irish, 1610-1710
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64pp. Autumn 2010
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The Donegal Plantation and the Tír Chonaill Irish, 1610-1710

Darren McGettigan

2010 marks the 400th anniversary of the commencement of the plantation of Ulster. This book is a short study of how the plantation impacted on the Gaelic Irish lordship of Tír Chonaill, transforming it within the century after the year 1610, from a powerful autonomous lordship, with a warlike population, into a quiet and well-settled territory, albeit with a still largely unplanted and Gaelic western seaboard in 1710. County Donegal was to see the building of the most successfully planted area of the entire official Ulster plantation. The settlers in the county were led by the Lowland Scots, mostly from Ayrshire, headed by two powerful Scottish favourites of King James I himself. This study analyses how the Donegal plantation grew and consolidated itself throughout the 17th-century, helped in large measure by the manner in which the Gaelic Irish population of Donegal became isolated in the west of the county, where it had a development which was almost separate and distinct from the Gaelic Irish in the rest of the province. The importance of the exiled Gaelic nobility of Tír Chonaill, in Spain, Rome and Spanish Flanders, throughout the 17th-century, is also discussed as is the great flourishing of Gaelic scholarship in Donegal and amongst the Donegal Franciscans at Louvain in the first decades after the plantation.

Dr Darren McGettigan is from Wicklow Town. His grandfather Neil was a native of the Kilmacrennan area in Co. Donegal. Darren is the author of the biography Red Hugh O’Donnell and the Nine Years War (Dublin, 2005).
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