Grace O’Malley, or the “Pirate Queen” as she is famously known, was born in 1530 to an Irish chieftain of the O’Malley’s of Murrisk in the province of Connacht. Grace was also nicknamed Granuaile or Gráinne Mhaol when she once cut her hair short to pose as a male.
A strong character, Grace is said to have spent much of her life protecting her native land from enemies and the encroaching English rule. In her strongholds of Clare Island and at Clew Bay, Grace was able to use her piracy and seafaring ways to protect the west of Ireland for a considerable amount of time.
English administration did eventually find its way into Connacht and, as a result, Grace’s opposition was punished by the confiscating of cattle and ships by the newly appointed governor of the region, Sir Richard Bingham. It is also thought that Sir Bingham held two of her sons captive.
To this day, the British Crown has letters detailing correspondence between Grace and Queen Elizabeth I. The letters show a plea Grace made to the queen about her situation with Bingham. After several letters back and forth, Grace was granted an audience with the Queen at Greenwich Castle in 1593. This was a significant meeting given Grace was the first female sovereign of Ireland to do such a thing. In accounts of this meeting, it is believed that the queen showed a lot of admiration for Grace and agreed to lift some of the sanctions made by Bingham.
Take a road trip along Mayo’s stunning coast and allow locals to retell the tales of the pirate queen.
Maeve was born into an Irish clan (considered to be Irish royalty at the time).
Grace marries Dónal an Chogaidh Ó Flaithbheartaigh and has three children with him: Eógan; Méadhbh and Murchadh.
Grace marries Risdeárd an Iarainn Bourke, or "Iron Richard" as the first part of his name translates.
It is thought that Sir Richard Bingham, appointed by the British crown as governor to the province of Connacht, punished Grace for rebelling against him.
Grace is granted an audience with Queen Elizabeth I to plead her case against Bingham. The queen calls for release of her family members and lifts the sanctions imposed by Bingham.
Grace O'Malley is said to have died in 1603 at Rockfleet Castle in County Mayo.
Ireland's most famous king, Brian Boru ended the High Kingship in Ireland and famously defeated the Vikings at Clontarf.View timeline
Recognised as the 'Warrior Queen of Connacht', Maeve is one of Ireland's most iconic historical characters, and arguably the most famous Queen.View timeline
The ancestor of the famous Uí Néill dynasty, some 3 million Irish people are believed to be descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages.View timeline
The famous Pirate Queen, Grace O'Malley protected the west of Ireland from English attacks.View timeline
The Viking King of Dublin, Sitric was the son of Óláfr Sigtryggsson and Gormlaith.View timeline
The former wife of the great king Brian Boru, and mother to his rival, Sitric Silkbeard.View timeline
The King of Leinster, Dermot is responsible for the Anglo-Norman invasion and centuries of British Rule in Ireland.View timeline
Wife of Anglo-Norman warrior Strongbow, Aoife was the Princess of Leinster and daughter to King Dermot of Leinster.View timeline
A former King of Ulster, Conchobar was briefly married to Queen Maeve of Connacht.View timeline
Believed to be the first Queen of Ireland of foreign or non-Celtic lineage.View timeline
The last King of Ireland and son of Turlough O'Connor, King of Connacht.View timeline