Celebrate the Original Wild Atlantic Woman in the Festival of the Pirate Queen
Take a Voyage of Discovery about Grace O’Malley with Talks & Tours, Craft Beer, Adventure Racing, Yawl Racing & more
Can any modern day woman match the determination and bravery of the original Wild Atlantic woman? It’s been over 500 years since the Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley, commanded the seas from Scotland to Spain from Clew Bay in the West Coast of Ireland and even by today’s standards, she is still considered legendary. This is why, over the May Bank Holiday weekend, the Festival of the Pirate Queen will celebrate this great Irish legend throughout Westport, Clare Island, Louisburgh, Newport, Mulranny and Achill Island. There’s something for everyone whether its sampling the delights of craft beer at the Grainne Ale Festival at Westport House, competing in an adventure race to win the crown of Pirate Queen, enjoying the spectacle of traditional Yawl Racing on Achill Island or learning the story behind the legend through a selection of guided tours, historical talks and exhibitions.
Voyages of Discovery through Heritage & Historical Events
Learn about the life & times of Grace O’Malley through talks, displays and tours. Highlights include:
· Grace O’Malley: Her Family & Her Descendants – learn the historical reality of this extraordinary leader from her official biographer and historian, Anne Chambers in the home of her descendants, Westport House. Or pop into Anne’s Question & Answer session in Louisburgh and ask anything you’ve ever wanted to know about this iconic woman.
· The Grace O’Malley Coach Tour with Westport Heritage Centre – enjoy a day visiting the sites of her castles throughout the bay and two exhibitions in Louisburgh & Westport House. Or learn of the connection between the historic Westport House – still owned and run by her descendants, her 14th great grand-daughters – in a 30 minute tour, visit the permanent exhibition, her statue and what is left of her dungeons in the site of her Westport castle.
· Engage with nature in guided foraging and coastal walks as well as seashore safaris in Mulranny and Louisburgh.
Get Out There with the Active & the Adventurous
· Compete for the Crown of the Pirate Queen in the unique adventure race on Clare Island on Saturday, 3rd May. The full race course covers 24.1km and involves running, cycling, climbing and walking the plank – not for the faint of heart! There is also a shorter Spirit course of 15km. This year the Pirate Queen Adventure Race is open to male participants also, however the emphasis is on the female participants with no prizes for males.
· Enjoy the spectacle of traditional Yawl racing and celebrate its customs at Grace O’Malley’s Achill Island castle in Kildavnet.
· Take the “Greenway with Grace O’Malley” where you’ll hop on your bike to cycle the Great Western Greenway taking in her Rockfleet Castle in Mulranny.
· Discover your strength through girl power and mindfulness on Clare Island through yoga practice and a talk on Female Empowerment by Ellen O’Malley, ex Chieftain of the O’Malley clan.
Enjoy a Pirate’s Hospitality with Craft Beer & Food
· The Grainne Ale Festival – taking place Saturday & Sunday afternoons in Gracy’s Bar & Café in Westport House – will celebrate the return to traditional brewing methods and showcase a range of Irish ale houses including West Mayo Brewery, Independent Brewing Company, Mountain Man Brewing, Metalman Brewing, and Brú Brewery– and musical entertainment too including Mr Whippy Soundsystem with a soulful soundtrack to accompany Grainne Ale’s sundown selection of craft beers and brews – welcoming the summer with an evening garden-party DJ set to… ‘Chill That Mind!’
· Forage for mushrooms in one of Ireland’s rare Atlantic old oak woodlands at Old Head and cook up your discovery back at Louisburgh HQ.
· A barbeque fit for a Queen will be served in Patten’s Bar in Achill on Saturday and Sunday evenings with traditional music.