The Honourable Irish Society is the organisation created by royal charter consisting of members nominated by livery companies of the City of London, set up to colonise Co Derry during the plantation of Ulster. Notably it was involved in the construction of the city of Derry, where it continues to own the City Walls. It was also particularly active in the town of Coleraine. Following the end of the primary conflict between the English monarchy and the Chieftains of Ireland with the flight of the Earls in 1607, James I of England set out to defend against a future attack from within or without. In his survey, he found that the town of Derry could become either a great asset as a control over the River Foyle and Lough Swilly, or it could become an inviting back door if the people of the area were against him. He pressurised the guilds of the City of London to fund the resettlement of the area, including the building of a new walled city, and the result was the creation of the society. The Society financed the building of the Guildhall, Derry. Work started in 1887 and it was opened in July 1890, having cost £19,000.
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