The Honourable The Irish Society
The Honourable The Irish Society was formally constituted by The Royal Charter of James I on 28 March 1613. The Charter conferred upon The Society, responsibility for directing the affairs of the Plantation while defining and establishing the City and County of Londonderry as well as the municipal rights of the citizens. The money necessary to carry out the Plantation scheme was raised by assessing the Livery Companies of London.
Subsequently in 1615 the Society conveyed to the various great Livery Companies, estates in the County, in proportion to the contribution made by these bodies. The City of Londonderry and the town of Coleraine with its adjacent woods and forests, along with the salmon and eel fisheries in Lough Foyle in conjunction with those of the Rivers Foyle and Bann were reserved for the Society.
The Companies have to a very considerable extent ceased to be identified with the County of Londonderry since the sale of their respective properties to tenants under the Irish Land Acts. Scattered throughout the County, public buildings and institutions serve as a reminder to posterity of the association of the Great Livery Companies with the County of Londonderry.