Gréinnu Uile


By stout Carrigahulla, my war vessels ride
Like swans, they are breasting the swift ebbing tide
There’s wrath for the saxon and ruth for the gael
In you Spanish galleys, said Grainne Uile

Sing bo-bar-o, do-dar-o, Graiine Uile
Galleys and Gaels all ready to sail
To sweep the salt seas from Cape Clear to Kinsale
For the Queen of the ocean is Grainne Uile

Then Queen Bess, the dear virgin, wrote friendly and fond
For sweet Grace, her kind coz, to go journey beyond
So l doffed my steel barradh and donned my silk veil
And I went a cuckooien, said Gréinnu Uile

Mo Fuil, could you note how she wondered at me
With my loose yellow mantle and blue bodice free
She had pilfered, herself, every bone from a whale
To bind up her long body, said Griinnu Uile

Bess offered me honours; to me, her peer
Then she offered protection; whom, whom do I fear?
So she offered me peace; sure we’re used to a gale
In stout Carrig-a-hulla, said Grainnu Uile

Then she gave me a spaniel; I smothered a curse
For I had my own babe for my bosom to nurse
No shivering pet that slinks down to his tail
But a wolf-hound of Connacht, said Gréinnu Uile

Bess parleyed for peace, yet base Bingham is out
With full many a Sassenach, churleen and lout
But, dar Dia, if Clann Leeam he dares to assail
There’ll be blood on my bonnet, said Grainnu Uile

Mayo 1

Songs of Mayo


Grace O’Malley – Gráinne Mhaol (c.1530 – c.1603) Pirate Queen of the West, was chieftain of the Ó Máille clan. Upon the death of her father Eoghan Dubhdara Ó Máille, she inherited his large shipping and piracy business. Income from this business, land inherited from her mother and property holdings from her first husband made her a very wealthy and powerful woman. In 1593, her sons were taken captive by the English governor of Connacht, Sir Richard Bingham. O’Malley sailed to England and negotiated with Queen Elizabeth for their release, and for the removal of Bingham from Ireland. She is believed to have spoken in Latin with Queen Elizabeth I at that historic meeting. When Bingham returned to Ireland one year later, O’Malley realized Elizabeth could not be trusted, so she went back to supporting Irish rebels during the Nine Years War. Grace O’Malley most likely died at Rockfleet Castle, Co Mayo around 1603, the same year as Elizabeth, though the year and place of her death is uncertain.
Since 1948, the Commissioners of Irish Lights have sailed three vessels named Granuaile.



Song Themes

Songs of the sea