Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley Returns to the Thames

Joan Mulloy Believe in Grace boat

Professional Irish sailor Joan Mulloy, from Westport, completed an historic journey on Saturday, 7th September, when she sailed along the River Thames just as her ancestor, Granuaile, did, over 400 years ago.

Under black sails emblazoned with her name, Grace O’Malley Irish Pirate Queen, Joan retraced the route from Clew Bay in Co. Mayo to London, a journey that saw the Irish Pirate Sea Queen come face to face with the Virgin Queen in their meeting in late summer of 1593.

In keeping with the re-enactment, Joan presented a special bottle of Grace O’Malley Irish Whiskey when she reached the Tower of London, commemorating the meeting which founded a mutual respect and unlikely friendship between the Pirate Queen and Queen Elizabeth I.

Legend has it that Grace gifted of a bottle of Irish whiskey to the Queen who was well known for her partiality to ‘uisce beatha’, having stocks of it delivered to her court.

At the time the meeting was a success for Grace O’Malley, who received ‘clemencie and favour’ from Queen Elizabeth I, who following the meeting, released Grace’s son Tibbot, restored his lands and gave the royal assent that Grace could continue her business of ‘maintenance by land and sea’ without hindrance or interference from the Queen’s governors.

Grace O’Malley Irish Whiskey is supporting Joan in her many sailing and racing endeavours and Joan will represent the brand at events and in a number of special challenges in 2019.


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