Awesome Ladies of History: Grace O’Malley, Pirate Queen of the Irish Seas as portrayed by Lily Cole
Grace O’Malley was an Irish pirate, Queen of Umaill, and head of the Ó Máille clan. According to Irish legend, as a young girl Grace wished to go on a trading expedition with her father, and on being told she could not because her long hair would catch in the ship’s ropes, she cut off most of her hair to embarrass her father into taking her, thus earning her the nickname “Gráinne Mhaol” (Grace the Bald). Her second marriage to Richard Bourke is said to have occurred in order to expand her holdings and prestige, and at the end of one year as dictated by law, Grace locked herself and her followers in their castle and shouted down, “Richard, I dismiss you” effectively divorcing Richard and taking their possessions. She protected herself and her territory from an English re-taking of Ireland; in protest to taxes put on her ships for trading, the O’Malley ships would stop traders coming in and demand payment of their own for safe passage in the waters.