Grainne (Grace) O'Malley also known as The Pirate Queen of Connaught was a contemporary of Queen Elizabeth I and operated off the west coast of Ireland. Born into a family of pirates she improved the family business by introducing a protection racket. She was saved on the brink of hanging by The Crown, possibly because she was keeping an eye on the Spanish Armada for the English. It is believed she met with Elizabeth I and since she knew no English and the queen knew no Irish, they conversed in Latin. She built castles on Clare Island and the Renvyle coast. Here are two of Grainne's castles we visited. As it turns out she is an ancestor...no wonder I always dressed up as a pirate on Halloween.