(c1530 - 1603)
Grace O'Malley was born in County Mayo she
was called Grainne Ni Mhaille she was also sometimes called Granuaile
Mhaol (Grace of the cropped hair) Her father was Owen 'Black Oak'
O'Malley, chieftain of the lands around Clew Bay County Mayo.The
O'Malley's engaged in piracy as well as fishing and trading.
Grace married another pirate Donal O'Flaherty,
his family ruled in the Connemara region of Galway, on Galway city's
west gate was inscribed "From the ferocious O'Flaherties good
Lord deliver us." Donal was known as Donal the Cock, he is
thought to have been killed in a battle against the Joyce's, after
seizing a castle on Lough Corrib. The castle later came to be known
as Hen's Castle in honour of Grace's spirited defense.
In 1566 Grace married Richard Burke owner
of Rockfleet castle on the north of Clew Bay, when Grace and Burke
submitted to Sir Henry Sydney in 1577 at Galway, Sydney described
her as 'a notorious woman in all the coasts of Ireland' Burke died
In 1593 Grace petitioned Queen Elizabeth I of England for liberty
'To invade with sword and fire all your highness enemies', she sailed
up the Thames and met meet the queen at Greenwich, she is said to
have been pardoned by the queen after which Grace is said to have
Little is known of the last years of her
life, her lands were plundered and she is thought to have died in
poverty in 1603. The present owners of Westport
House. claim to be directly descended from Grace so you will
no doubt find more information on their site.