#anonymouswasawoman: #HERstory: Grace O’Malley, c. 1530 – c. 1603 Grace, or Gráinne

me. my name. #Repost @weirdwonderfulwomen
Grace O’Malley, c. 1530 – c. 1603
Grace, or Gráinne, was born in County Mayo in Ireland around 1530. Her father was a wealthy merchant and the chieftain of the Ó Máille clan. As a child she was determined to accompany her father at sea but her mother believed Grace’s long hair would become tangled in the ropes. Grace cut it off and sailed with her father; earning the nickname “Gráinne Mhaol”, maol meaning bald. In 1546 Grace married Dónal Ó Flaithbheartaigh and they had 3 children: Owen, Margaret and Murrough. Following her husband’s death, in 1566 Grace married “Iron Richard” Bourke and they had a son Tibbot. According to early Irish law Grace and Richard were only committed to marriage for 1 year, after which she locked herself in his castle and called from a window “Richard Burke, I dismiss you” thus rendering them divorced. As she was in possession of Rockfleet Castle it became her property, which when added to inheritance from her father and first husband made Grace a wealthy woman. She maintained an international trading business, taxed ships who sailed near her territories, owned around 1000 head of cattle and had combined the Ó Máille and Ó Flaithbheartaigh clans into one formidable force. After Elizabeth I ascended the throne and Grace’s notoriety reached England, complaints arose of her piratical behaviour. In 1593 Grace’s sons Murrough and Tibbot were captured by the English governor of Connacht, Sir Richard Bingham. Grace travelled to Greenwich Palace near London to petition Elizabeth I for their release. Their conversation was held in Latin, as Grace could not speak English and Elizabeth could not speak Irish. Grace refused to bow as she did not recognise Elizabeth as Queen of Ireland. Despite this Elizabeth agreed to dismiss Bingham and order the release of her sons. She also agreed to allow Grace’s piracy to continue, as long as she only attacked enemies of the crown. Both ladies died in 1603. #ireland #HERstory