Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Grace O'Malley: The Pirate Queen

Return of The Pirate Queen

Grace O'Malley
Grace O'Malley
While much has changed in the more than four hundred years since Grace O'Malley ruled the West Coast of Ireland, the rugged, windswept natural beauty and ever-changing skies, gaunt brown mountains rising from the mist still distinguish the lands of the O'Malleys, Burkes and O'Flahertys.

In this land of happy wars and sad love songs lived the most famous of the O'Malleys, a strong female warrior, as fierce and powerful as any man. Much more than just a pirate, this Gaelic princess was a remarkable leader respected not only by her own people but by the English rulers that were their adversaries.

From her earliest days, she rejected the role of the sixteenth century woman, instead embracing the life on the sea with the fleet of O'Malley trading ships. Ambitious and fiercely independent, her exploits eventually became known through all of Ireland and England. Finally, the English could no longer ignore her and sent a fleet to stop her predatory sieges, but had to retreat when Grace attacked. Finally, Grace met with Queen Elizabeth and reached an alliance that benefited them both.

Why now does she rise up from centuries of legend to once again spring into our consciousness in a Broadway musical? Because Grace O'Malley embodies the essential spirit of the Irish feisty, defiant and indomitable.


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