|Daughter of a
Connacht Chieftain. Grainne provided the
strongest opposition to foreign rule in the west
of Ireland during the 16th century. When Queen
Elizabeth I launched a campaign in 1568 to
finally subdue the rebellious west most of the
ruling class including Grainne’s husband
submitted but Grainne had other ideas.
Traditionally the O’Malley clan were sea-farers
and Grainne ruled much of the area around the
Connacht coast. In 1579 a special body of English
troops was sent to Galway to beseige her castle
near Newport in County Mayo. Grainne proved too
much for them however and they had to retreat.
She harassed the foreigh government all her life.
After being taken prisoner several times and
almost hanged in 1586 she gained the protection
of the O’Neills of Ulster when many of her
ships were destroyed.