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Grace O’Malley’s Toronto


Grace O’Malley’s

Grace O’Malley’s the story of Grainne Ni Mhaille, or Granuaile (Anglicized as Grace O’Malley, Grany Malley), reads like the most brazen and unlikely sort of adventure fiction, but theres 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 Elizibeth herself, Grainne was one of the few sea-raiders to retire from the sea and die in her own bed, though where shes buried remains a mystery. Grainne’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 iwth 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.

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