The Formidable Grace O'Malley: Fierce Pirate or Irish Freedom Fighter?

Saturday November 09, 2019 2:00pm EST
Joanna Gillan
Ancient Origins Webinars

A thieving pirate – or a freedom fighter? Why not both?

Grace O'Malley was chieftain of Ireland’s O’Malley clan, the Queen of the Kingdom of Umaill, a seafarer, a pirate, and a fearless leader who challenged the turbulent politics of 16th century England and Ireland. Irish legends have immortalized Grace as a courageous woman who overcame boundaries of gender imbalance and bias to fight for the independence of Ireland and protect it against the English crown. But to the English, she was considered a thieving pirate who controlled the coastlines through intimidation and plunder. So, who was she really?

In this webinar, we trace back the 70 dramatic years of Grace’s life from her rise to power to her daring charisma that made her leader of an army of 200 men, her life as a feared and respected pirate, her capture and fall to poverty, her bold meeting with Queen Elizabeth I, and her surprising ultimate fate.  We piece together the story of a woman who has become one of the most important figures of Irish folklore, a hero of legendary status.

But behind the legends and the tales, this webinar aims to reveal the real Grace O’Malley, not only a notorious pirate, but an intrepid mariner, a political tactician, a wife, lover, mother, grandmother, and matriarch—and a powerful leader who played a unique role in history.


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