A Pirate’s Island: Clare Island and the Pirate Queen
Pirates and Ireland actually go hand-in-hand more than you might expect. The poorly-guarded coasts of Ireland were attractive places to raiders. It all started with the Vikings, the island’s first “pirate” raiders arriving from the east in search of land, treasure and adventure.
In 1631, pirate boats manned by a ragtag crew of Barbary, Turkish and Dutch sailors invaded the coasts of southwest Ireland, stealing somewhere between 100 and 237 villagers in what is now known as the infamous Sack of Baltimore. Brought to the slave markets of the Mediterranean, only 3 of the stolen villagers ever returned to Irish shores (due to ransom funds).
But Ireland’s unique and fascinating history contains an even more interesting pirate. This is of course the infamous and enigmatic 16th-century Irish pirate queen, Granuaile.