The Mayor who hanged his own son

    Galway is a river-bounded city in the west of Ireland, founded by the Anglo-Normans in the 12th century. The modern name comes from the anglecisation of the original name of the river, Gaillimh, which legend holds to have been named for the daughter of an ancient chieftain who drowned in its waters. Her distraught […]


Hidden historical heroines (#20: Marie-Louise O’ Murphy)

  Marie-Louise O’ Murphy de Boisfaily (21 October 1737 – 11 December 1814) was the youngest child of an Irish army officer. She was a celebrated French beauty, one of the younger mistresses of Louis XV.  The youngest of seven, Marie-Louise was born to ex-Irish army officer Daniel O’ Murphy and his French wife. Daniel had […]

Hidden historical heroines (#12: Granuaile)

  Grace O’Malley (Gráinne Ní Mháille), c. 1530 – c. 1603, was Queen of Umaill, chieftain of the Ó Máille clan and a pirate (yes, a pirate) of Tudor Ireland. She is more commonly known by her nickname Granuaile.   Granuaile was born around 1530, the only legitimate child of Eoghan Dubhdara Ó Máille – […]

Hidden historical heroines (#08: Scota)

Scota is a psuedohistorical character in Irish and Scottish mythology, the daughter of an Egyptian Pharoah to whom the Gaels traced their ancestry; she allegedly explains the name Scoti, applied by the Romans to Irish raiders, and later to the Irish invaders of what would later be known as Scotland. If Scota lived at all, she lived sometime in the centuries around 1400 BC. Tradition holds her […]

Hidden historical heroines (#07: Lola Montez)

  Eliza Rosanna Gilbert, Countess of Landsfeld (17 February 1818 – 17 January 1861) – better known by the stage name Lola Montez – was an Irish-born dancer who found world-wide fame on the stage and as a courtesan.  Her mother, Elizabeth Oliver, was the daughter of an Irish MP. She married a solider – […]

Hidden historical heroines (#04: Peg Woffington)

  Margaret “Peg” Woffington (18 October 1720 – 28 March 1760) was a celebrated Irish-born actress during Georgian times.   Peg was born in Dublin in 1720. Her father – a bricklayer – died when she was young, leaving her family penniless and destitute . Her mother took in laundry, while little Peg sold watercress […]