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    Ireland's contribution to female heroines includes
    the 16th-century Grainne Ni Mhaille who was known as
    the 'Queen of the Irish Seas'.

    She was called Mhaol (meaning 'cropped hair'),
    but was called Grace O'Malley by the English. Born in the
    Province of Connacht, Grainne married and had 3 children
    before she commenced her famous career on the high seas,
    marshaling 3 pirate ships and up to 200 men as she opposed
    the English attempts to remove her.

    Her husband was an O'Flaherty who was executed by Queen
    Elizabeths colonists who attempted to completely subjugate
    the Irish way of life. In 1556 she married again, this time
    to Iron Richard Burke and had a son named Tibbot. Captured
    and jailed for 2 years she returned to her homeland in
    Connaught to continue her defiance.

    In 1558 Elizabeth I pardoned her in an attempt to bring
    peace to the region but his attempt failed as the local
    English administrators continued to goad the woman who had
    been a thorn in their side for years. They even interned
    her son and brother despite Elizabeth I instructing that
    they be released.

    Fighting was her only means of survival and this she did
    until the Irish defeat at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601
    checked her dominance. She died in 1603 and has since
    been, to a large degree, overlooked as a genuine heroine
    of Irish history.

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