Grace O'Malley

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Gráinne Ní Mháille (c. 1530 – c. 1603), usually known in English as Gráinne O'Malley[1] or Grace O'Malley,[2] was Queen of Umaill, Chieftain of the Clan Ó Máille, and an Irish pirate. She is also known as Granuaile or Gráinne Mhaol, and in English sometimes as "O'Mealey" (another anglicism).

Ní Mháille is an important figure in Irish folklore, and a historical figure in 16th century Irish history, and is sometimes known as "The Sea Queen Of Connaught". Her name appears in contemporary documents as Grany O'Maly, Grany Imallye, Granny Nye Male, Grany O'Mayle, Granie ny Maille, Granny ni Maille, Grany O'Mally, Grayn Ny Mayle, Grane ne Male, Grainy O'Maly, and Granee O'Maillie.[3] Biographies of her have been written primarily in the 20th and 21st centuries by the historian Anne Chambers. The Irish song "Oró Sé do Bheatha 'Bhaile" is about her. Her story is currently being made into a feature film.[4]

Contents

Early life

Gráinne Ní Mháille was born in Ireland around 1530, when Henry VIII was King of England and (at least in name) Lord of Ireland. Under the policies of the English government at the time, the semi-autonomous Irish princes and lords were left mostly to their own devices. However this was to change over the course of her life as the Tudor conquest of Ireland gathered pace.

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