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‘There came to me also a most famous feminine sea called Granny Imallye ... with three galleys and two hundred fighting men ... She brought with her her husband for she was as well by sea as by land well more than Mrs Mate with him. This was a notorious woman in all the coasts of Ireland ...’ Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy of Ireland, 1576
Grace O'Malley was a sea captain and clan leader, pirate and politico, business woman and warrior, as well as a dutiful daughter, wife, and mother. Though shaped by her times, she shattered the mold for women of her day. She would be a formidable figure in any era, including our own. Part of the sea-faring O'Malley clan, she inherited a deep love of the oceans and dominated trade on the Irish coast. On land, she personally led her clansmen in battle, waging relentless war on rival leaders throughout the Emerald Isle. Even powerful English officials were threatened by her influence. They saw her as "nurse to all rebellions." When she went to meet the Queen of England, the two women dealt as proud equals who had maneuvered their way through 16th century war and politics with skill and aplomb.
This book profiles a woman who challenges our predisposed sense of convention, who, over four hundred years ago, was one of the first women to break the mold and make a unique contribution to history.
Traces the life of the fiery, sixteenth-century trader, seafarer, and politician, and describes some of her many adventures.
The Pirate Queen begins in Ireland with the infamous Grace O’Malley, a ruthless pirate and scourge to the most powerful fleets of sixteenth-century Europe. This Irish clan chieftain, sea captain, and pirate queen was a contemporary of Elizabeth I, a figure whose life is the stuff of myth. Regularly raiding English ships caught off Ireland’s west coast, O’Malley was purported to have fought the Spanish armada just hours after giving birth to her son. She had several husbands in her lifetime, and acquired lands and castles that still dot the Irish coastline today. But Grace O’Malley was not alone. Since ancient times, women have rowed and sailed, commanded and fished, built boats and owned fleets. As pirate, captain’s wives, lighthouse keepers and sailors in disguise they’ve explored coastlines and set off alone across unknown seas. Yet their incredible contributions have been nearly erased from the history books. In The Pirate Queen, Barbara Sjoholm brings some of these extraordinary women back to life, taking the reader on an unforgettable journey from the wild Irish coast to the haunting Scandinavian fjords in this meticulously researched, colorfully written, and truly original work
The story of Grace O'Malley, Ireland's pirate queen, is told in storybook format so that the youngest of readers can be inspired by her heroic personality. Written in the rhythm and rhyme of an Irish ballad, the story of this Chieftain, pirate, and warrior is sure to inspire. This is a great resource for Women's and Irish history lessons.
From piracy to nunnery via murder, the scaffold, and rescue by Queen Elizabeth, Pirate Queen tells the sensational story of Grace O'Malley, terror of the seas.

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