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County Coleraine, called the County of Colerain in the earliest documents, was one of the counties of Ireland from 1585 to 1613. It was named after its intended county town, Coleraine. Of all the original counties of Ireland, the administration abolished only County Coleraine prior to reorganisations in the twentieth century.
Foundation and extent
Sir John Perrot, the Lord Deputy of Ireland, established County Coleraine between the Rivers Bann and Foyle in 1585 during the reign of Elizabeth I. Sir John intended administering the new county from the town of Coleraine. In the event, the English authorities built the courthouse and jail for the new establishment at Desertmartin in the adjacent county of Tyrone.
Towards a new county
English control of the territory remained nominal. Following the Flight of the Earls (1607) the Crown confiscated almost the entire county from its Irish aristocratic feudal owners. In 1609 the territory was given to the City of London Corporation and its livery companies, who received instructions to undertake its plantation.
The area for planting included:
- the entirety of County Coleraine
- the barony of Loughinsholin which comprised the then north of County Tyrone and the environs of Coleraine in County Antrim, together called O'Cahan's Country
- a small area of County Donegal around Lough Foyle
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