The new boroughs and the Ulster Plantation

Published in Early Modern History (1500–1700), Features, General, Issue 2 (March/April 2013), Plantation of Ireland, Volume 21

It is sometimes asserted that the 40 boroughs were established as part of the Ulster Plantation, but in fact only 45% (eighteen) were in Ulster, while 22% (nine) were in Munster, 18% (seven) in Leinster and 15% (six) in Connacht. The best-represented counties were Down and Cork, with four each; Donegal and Tyrone with three each; and Armagh, Derry, Waterford, Wexford and Roscommon with two each. In addition, some fifteen of them were not part of the formal plantations, including five in Antrim and Down (although there had been unofficial plantations there). James subsequently created four more boroughs: Killybegs (1616) and St Johnson (1618), both Co. Donegal; Gorey, Co. Wexford (1620); and Jamestown, Co. Leitrim (1622), bringing his total to 48. More urban authorities were created in Ireland during the reign of James I than under any other British ruler except the much longer-reigning Queen Victoria (and the latter were not parliamentary boroughs).

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