Grace O'Malley - Famous Female Pirate
(born around 1530, died around 1603) was one of the most important women in Irish history, a Queen of Umaill (territory in
the Ireland), chieftain of
the Ó Máille clan and a pirate. Known under several pseudonyms (GráinneNíMháille, Granuaile, GráinneMhao, and many
other), she today represents important figure in an Irish folklore and history, which is best represented by her title "The
Sea Queen OfConnaugh". She
spent her lifetime ruling the lands of West Ireland, fighting for their independence against the English.
GráinneNíMháille was born in Ireland around 1530, in a time when Henry VIII was king of England, and Irish lords were mostly
independent. Born as a daughter of the chieftain of the Ó Máille clan, she soon became fond of the seas. After many
disagreements with her
family she finally cut her hair and secretly boarded father's ship. After discovering her, her entire family laughed and
accepted her wishes. Although
she spent much time on a ship, she received formal education and knowledge of foreign languages (such as Latin).
In 1546 she became married to DónalanChogaidh Ó Flaithbheartaigh, another Irish lord with whom she had three children. After
he died in
battle, Grace defeated his killers and returned to her castle as a defacto ruler of majority of West Ireland. In 1566 she
married for second time, this
time to lord Risdeárd an Iarainn Bourke who controlled majority of iron trade in the Ireland. Exactly one year later, Grace
divorced him and kept
all his wealth for himself, greatly increasing her influence.
During her lifetime Grace fought countless battles on the sea and land. She expanded her influence, until she became well
known even in England. During
1596 her two sons became captive of Queen Elizabeth I. The two queens met in Greenwich Palace to discuss terms of their
release, where Grace famously
refused to bow down to Elizabeth. Grace continued with her exploits on the land and see, further more expanding her
influence and fame across the
Europe. She died sometimes around 1603 in Rockfleet Castle, in the same year as Elizabeth I.
Life and career of Grace O'Malley had a great cultural impact on the Ireland and England. Her life was scrutinized by
countless modern historians, she
was the centerpiece of many music pieces, stage plays, movies and other media.