March 17, 2003

By Michael Strickland

The Pirate Queen

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'd like to share what I know about a lesser known hero of Irish history, Grace O'Malley (a.k.a. Granuaile). Hers is a fascinating story, one which is certain to come to the silver screen before long. I've often toyed with the idea of adapting it myself, but since my screenplay ideas have a habit of being scooped, I thought I should stay away from this one. In fact, I just did a quick search online, and several people are allegedly developing such projects. Glad I didn't spend too much time on this one.

But I digress. Granuaile lived in sixteenth century Ireland, where her ambition quickly made her a renowned seafarer, trader and, ultimately, pirate. She was twice widowed and twice imprisoned, but overcame all obstacles to become "queen" of the high seas. Her notoriety even brought her before another queen, Elizabeth I of England. The two reportedly became fast friends, and the English queen—perhaps, as Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth in "Shakespeare in Love" said, knowing "something of a woman in a man's profession"—went so far as to pardon the pirate queen and release her sons from imprisonment.

Granuaile lived a life uncommon for a woman of her time, and she died a death uncommon for pirates: in bed, with her boots off.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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3/16: To War or Not to War
3/15: So Long, Seau
3/14: Telemarketing Pays
3/13: Free, For Now
3/12: Chicken Little Gets Respect
3/11: Axis of Evil
3/10: Writing Kept Me From Writing
3/9: King Arthur
3/8: The Women are Smarter
3/7: Salt on Old Wounds
3/6: 3/3/03, 3:33 p.m.
3/5: Beer Day
3/4: Pulling the Trigger
3/3: Make 'Em Laugh
3/2: Whither Iraq?
3/1: Strickland Cellars
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