Ahoy, ye mateys! Today be "Talk Like a Pirate" day and me birthday! Me be very honored that MaryLu Tyndall will be joinin' us today with a guest post and giveaway! Aye, me pirate talk needs a lot of work. Arrrgh! Will have to work on it, aye?
So here's MaryLu, the queen of Talk Like a Pirate Day! :)
Lady Pirate, soldier, gambler, queen, and leader of men!
By MaryLu Tyndall
In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day, I thought I’d entertain you with a true tale of one of the most fierce lady pirates who ever lived! Her name was Grace O’Malley but she was also known as “Queen of the West” and “The Great Sea Pirate” She is said to have buried more than 9 tons of treasure, protected by a curse that is said to have killed treasure hunters up to the present century!
Born in Ireland in 1530 to seafaring parents, her father Owen “Black Oak” O’Malley was the elected chieftain of the Barony of Murrisk, but he also owned several castles and fortresses as well as several ships by which he carried out both legitimate trading and piracy.
As a young girl, Grace’s interest in the sea was evident. She repeatedly begged her father to take her on one of his voyages, but her mother resisted, saying it was no life for a young lady, so one day Grace cut off her long red hair, dressed herself as a boy, and joined the crew anyway. After she proved her worth as a sailor, she told her father who she was and he was happy to take her along on his trips from then on.
Despite a younger brother, Grace was her father’s heir and after his death, took command of the O’Malley fleets and castles. From the many inlets off the coast of Ireland, Grace pirated and waged a war against English ships. While in root to and from Spain and Portugal, she would lie in wait off the coast and swoop down on the slow merchant ships, making them pay tribute for safe passage. If they disagreed, she plundered everything they had on board. She was so effective, Queen Elizabeth put a price on her head of 500 pounds for her capture. She even sent troops to attack Grace’s castle, but they were unsuccessful
Grace married twice and bore numerous children. However when rebellion raged in Ireland she soon got caught up in tribal wars as well as battles against Englishmen dead set on conquering all of Ireland for the crown. Sir Richard Bingham, an English governor, took a particular interest in Grace and began arresting her family. Besieged on all fronts, in 1593 Grace finally wrote to the ultimate authority, Queen Elizabeth I. The letter, which survives, harps on about injustice and Grace's own advanced age but ends up requesting the Queen,
"to grant unto your said subject under your most gracious hand of signet, free liberty during her life to invade with sword and fire all your highness enemies, wheresoever they are or shall be, without any interruption of any person or persons whatsoever." Not exactly your usual frail little old lady
When she didn't receive a reply in time, she sailed to England herself. It was a daring move, not many Irish lords would dare set foot on English soil for fear of imprisonment or execution.
No one knows why Elizabeth agreed to see Grace, but they met in September of 1593. Grace was fluent in Latin and she and the Queen were able to converse freely. Grace explained to the Queen that her acts were not of rebellion but merely acts of self defense as Bingham had taken upon himself to destroy her and all of Ireland. She asked for the release of her brother and son and agreed to use her prowess at sea to help the Queen defeat her enemies.
Grace was very out of place in the English Court. A story is told about the meeting: Grace had sneezed in the presence of the Queen and court members. A member of the court handed her a very expensive handkerchief of lace and delicate embroidery, a costly item indeed. Grace proceeded to blow her nose into the hankie quite loudly and then tossed it into the fire. The court was aghast at her rudeness, but The Queen gently chided her and told her she should have put it into her pocket instead. Grace replied that the Irish did not put soiled articles into their pockets and therefore must have a higher sense of cleanliness.
The court was amazed that the Queen didn't have her arrested on the spot. A nervous chord of laughter began which turned into a loud roar of amusement. The Queen laughed and all was forgotten.
Queen Elizabeth finally agreed to Grace's offer of services and wrote Bingham commanding him to release Grace's family and restore her possessions. Bingham released her son and brother but never did give her back her lands and wealth. She continued to struggle against him for many years while still pirating the seas.
A nineteenth century biographer William O’Brien described Grace as a “gracious and charming lady with “healthy transparent cheeks” and a certain twinkle in . . . merry grey-blue eyes.
When she was over 60 she won her greatest victory off Shark Island against the Spanish. She came on deck in her nightgown, her gray hair flying loose down her back, the scars on her face livid, brandishing a sword in one hand and a pistol in the other. Her appearance was so alarming the Spaniards dropped their weapons believing she as a demon!
Grace eventually retired to Rockfleet Castle where it is thought she died in 1603, the same year as her Queen.
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Check out MaryLu's book, The Redemption!
About the book:
Lady Charlisse Bristol sets off on a voyage in search of a father she never knew, only to find herself shipwrecked on a desert island. Near starvation, she is rescued by a band of pirates and their fiercely handsome leader, Edmund Merrick. Will Clarisse win her struggle against the seductive lure of this pirate captain? While battling his attraction to this winsome lady, Edmund offers to help Charlisse on her quest-until he discovers her father is none other than Edward the Terror, the cruelest pirate on the Caribbean. Can Edmund win this lady's love while shielding her from his lecherous crew and working to bring her father to justice?
Avast! Here be ye chance to plunder MaryLu's book "The Redemption" (Legacy of the King's Pirates #1). If ye win and be from the US ye'll have the choice betwixt a print or eBook copy, but if ye be from somewheres else ye'll git an eBook copy. Open to all the seas!
Enter via the Rafflecopter below. Ye must leave a comment on this here blog post, or else walk the plank. After that, enter the others at will. Savvy?
Just for fun, in yer comment, talk like a pirate! Y'all are probably way better than this here pirate! :)
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