Granuaile Ireland’s Pirate Queen in Ballyconneely
Ballyconneely was the preserve of the ‘Ferocious’ O’Flahertys, whose castle at the mouth of the Brandy River at Bunowen, built in the early sixteenth century, was the seat of the western branch of this notorious family. Donall O’Flaherty or Donall A Choghaid as he was nicknamed, married the celebrated Grace O’Malley or Granuaile, about whom much has been written, and they lived at Bunowen from circa 1540, raising two sons – Eoin and Murrough – and a daughter Margaret. Granuaile left Bunowen in 1550’s after her husband was killed. The O’Flaherty castle was then occupied by the Geoghegans. Their descendant John Augustus O’Neill built a new castle residence at the foot of the Hill of Doon from the stones of the O’Flaherty castle at the mouth of the Brandy River which he was unable to complete . It was then bought by the Blakes of Towerhill in 1852 and used as a summer residence. It is now a ruin which you can view across the bay from the Connemara Smokehouse on Bunowen Pier.
As part of the Ballyconneely Festival Anne Chambers gave a talk on GRANUAILE – THE WOMAN BEHIND THE LEGEND on Friday 6 August at 6pm in Ballyconneely Community Hall, Connemara. The celebrations drew a huge crowd of all ages and all walks of life. Locals and visitors to the area put on an entertaining performance on Granuaile of comical nature followed by a fancy dress kiddies disco.
Author Anne Chambers is the sole published biographical account of Grace O’Malley, sourced from original manuscript material, both in public and in private domain. Anne is author of six biographies, historical novel, collection of short stories, film screenplays, stage and radio plays, Anne writes, lectures and has been interviewed around the world about her writing.
Her books have been made into Radio and TV drama-documentaries for Discovery Channel. Learning Channel, RTE etc and have been translated and published abroad. She has appeared regularly on radio and TV programmes, most recently on the BBC’s popular series Who Do You Think You Are, on Nationwide RTE I and RTE Lyric FM.
She was short-listed for the GPA Irish Book Awards (biography) and for the 2004 Irish Hennessy Literary Awards (short story). She holds an MA in History from the National University of Ireland and is a member of the Irish Writers Union and the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild.
Over the years Anne’s name has become synonymous with GRACE O’MALLEY. Her biography of the Pirate Queen has become the inspiration for documentary film makers, composers and writers from a range of creative disciplines worldwide, as well as for students in all educational levels, both in Ireland and abroad.
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BOOKS BY ANNE CHAMBERS:
– SHADOW LORD: Theobald Bourke -Son of the Pirate Queen
– FINDING TOM CRUISE and Other Stories
– AT ARM’S LENGTH: Aristocrats in the Republic of Ireland
– LA SHERIDAN: Adorable Diva
– RANJI MAHARAJAH OF CONNEMARA
– ELEANOR: Countess of Desmond
– THE GERALDINE CONSPIRACY(a novel)