The initial step taken by an Irish landowner was to appear before delinquency courts where he was interrogated about his political conduct over the previous ten years thus determining his degree of guilt and the amount of land he was to forfeit. His local revenue commissioner then issued him with a Transplanter’s Certificate, a licence to cross the Shannon. The certificate gave a brief description of the transplanter and those travelling with him, the type and number of livestock and other goods he proposed to take with him. He then appeared before commissioners in Loughrea who allotted him land in Clare or Connacht on a temporary basis according to his entitlement. He would have had to appear at court in Athlone a year or two later when he would have been given permanent title to his Connacht or Clare land. This was called his final settlement.
The Government offered every facility to those who obeyed orders and moved by the appointed day. The transplanters did not have to pay tolls for their cattle, neither did they have to pay rent on their land until their claims were finalised by the Athlone courts.
Some of the dispossessed joined the Tories in the woods and hills. They were outlawed by the Government but some of them were regarded as heroes by the Irish. The landless Irish who did not transplant risked their lives by giving the Tories food and shelter. They became a serious menace to the new planters, raiding their land, attacking and killing them. The Government offered large rewards for their capture so that Tory hunting and Tory murder became common pursuits. Members of the army were the first to be settled on the land vacated by the Irish, followed by the adventurers. The last adventurer was settled on 1 May 1659 marking the end of the transplantation.
The transplantation proved to be an enormous administrative problem. Acts and orders were constantly being reversed and revised, members of the army sold their debentures (documents entitling them to confiscated land) against orders, the supply of land was insufficient to meet the demands of those entitled to it culminating in what was officially described as ‘frustration, fraud and injustice.’