Grace O’Malley is believed to have been born in or around 1530 and was the daughter of a Gaelic chieftain and sea tradesman in County Mayo, Ireland. Upon inheriting his fleet and riches after his passing, the legendary so-called ‘Irish Pirate Queen’ went on to lead a dynamic life before her eventual passing in around 1603. Throughout her life, she seemed to exemplify pride, strength and wiliness for which the country may still be well known for to this day. Since then, the historical and legendary figure has been represented through many forms in media, such as in writing, music and on stage.
One artistic medium of exemplification which may be of interest is the annual production of ‘Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley’, and is performed in the Town Hall of Westport in Grace’s home county, County Mayo. This year, the fifth year upon which this iteration of O’Malley’s life has been on display at the Westport Town Hall, the show aims to run from June 15th through till the 22nd of September on Wednesdays and Thursdays. As Westport seems to be one of the most prolific locations of O’Malley’s life and upbringing, there may also be many local sights of interest which guests might visit whilst on a trip to County Mayo to see the production, such as the Rockfleet Castle, the home of O’Malley’s second husband, Burrishoole Abbey, Gruanuaile Castle, and Westport House in Clew Bay; where her descendants live and run the estate to this day.
Beyond the landmarks and the history of Grace O’Malley’s life, Westport may also have many other historic and traditional opportunities to offer travellers, as well as some more modern and cosmopolitan activities. One such pursuit may be the Croagh Patrick Pilgrims Hike, a mountain trail which may attract over 1 million pilgrims and hillwalkers every single year. The most popular route to hike along begins at the edge of Murrisk, and consists of a 7km round-trip hike to the top, where a practicing chapel has stood for over 100 years. Another historic natural landmark which may be of interest is the largest Neolithic monument in the world, the Céide Fields, where guests may explore the concealed remains of a Stone Age habitation site, as well as the tombs of an ancient civilisation.
After a day or two of natural and historic sightseeing, travellers in Westport may choose to visit the eclectic streets of the town of Westport itself, which aim to offer a variety of wares from locally produced pottery and knitwear to more contemporary fashion and media. As the evening draws near, visitors may choose to visit one of Westport’s many prolific restaurants and bars, such as The Wyatt Hotel, The Idle Wall or Cosy Joe’s bar, which all aim to offer a variety of food and drink from around the world, including and specialising in traditional Irish meals and local seafood dishes.
Due to Westport’s apparent treatment and respect for their heritage and history, it may be considered as a preferred location for vacation or cultural exploration, as it seeks to welcome in the new whilst heralding the antiquity. When visiting this summer with the aim of attending a showing of ‘Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley’, guests may be surprised by the variety of prospects available in the seaside town. Whether tourists seek natural and historic landmarks, vigorous activities or idle sightseeing and shopping, Westport aims to offer a wide selection of activities and opportunities.
How may strong, traditional figures and their modern representations improve cultural and historical respect?