Grace O’Malley The Pirate Queen

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Clare Island is home to the famous O’Malley castle which was acquired by the famous pirate Grace O’Malley during her conquest and voyages through the seas. Grace O’Malley was one of the most famous and fearsome pirates who ever lived. 

Grace began seafaring at the age of 11 around Clew Bay and forged a reputation as a great leader at sea as well as being a brilliant politician on land. She defended her home and territory at a time when Ireland was still under British rule, and she will forever be known as the pirate queen of Ireland. 

Grace is an inspiration to women all around the world as at a time when men were seen as superior there was no man more courageous or capable when it came to leadership and dominance than the pirate queen. Grace’s accomplishments show that she wasn’t intimidated or afraid to stand up to anyone. 

Grace famously had a meeting with Queen Elizabeth the 1st in 1593 where they had a conversation which was spoken in English as Grace spoke no Latin and the Queen spoke no Irish. The conclusion of this meeting was that the Queen would grant all of Grace’s requests so long as she put an end to her rebellion against the British. 

Much of the history is missing about Grace since she was a pirate and so the information about her life is limited. This makes it hard to pinpoint when she died. However, historians in the modern age believe that the pirate queen died in 1603 at Rockfleet Castle. Grace was buried in the abbey on Clare Island which in actual fact is the same abbey where Grace learned to write and read when she was a child.