Pirates & Privateers

Sources · Blackbeard · Drake · Gráinne O'Malley · Captain Kidd
The story of Gráinne Ni Mháille or Granuaile (Anglicized as Grace O'Malley, Grany Malley) reads like the most brazen and unlikely sort of adventure fiction, but there's history as well as myth in the legend of the Irish noblewoman who led a band of 200 sea-raiders from the coast of Galway in the sixteenth century. Twice widowed, twice imprisoned, fighting her enemies both Irish and English for her rights, condemned for piracy, and finally pardoned in London by Queen Elizabeth herself, Gráinne was one of the few sea-raiders to retire from the sea and die in her own bed, though where she's buried remains a mystery.
Map of Western Ireland Gráinne's exploits were many and attested, and there can be no doubt that she made a deep impression on the Englishmen sent to complete the conquest of Connacht. From her appearance in 1576 before the Lord Deputy Sir Henry Sidney in Galway, when he described her as a 'most famous feminine sea captain' and 'a notorious woman in all the coasts of Ireland', to her interview with Queen Elizabeth in London in 1593, when she secured the release of her son and her brother from prison, and promises of maintenance for herself for the remainder of her life, she proved herself ready to face all dangers in her determination to salvage some part of her family's inheritance.
- Gráinne Ni Mhaille or Gráinne Uaile

The Sea-Queen of Ireland

Grace O'Malley, a brief biography by Rosemarie Colombraro at Renaissance-Central. New !
Granuaile, a history with map and illustrations, at Defiant Women's Pirates page.
Gráinne Ni Mhaille or Gráinne Uaile, part of the history of Westport, County Mayo.
Mystery surrounds burial place of legendary pirate queen Gráinne Uaile, an article from Western People, August 1997. New URL.
About Granuaile, history links from the Unofficial O'Malley Website.
Gráinne Ní Mháille Pirate Queen of Connaught.
Grace O' Malley - The Official Site, from biographer Anne Chambers. New !

Further Reading

Granuaile: The Life and Times of Grace O'Malley by Anne Chambers has just been issued in a revised edition by Wolfhound Press (ISBN: 0863276318).
The Twilight Lords, an Irish Chronicle, by Richard Berleth, Knopf, 1978; reprinted Barnes and Noble, 1994, details the warfare and treachery that characterize Ireland in Elizabethan times.

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14 March 2004