drawing by Julie McNiel
Pirate Queen
pencil, collage, white-out, on manila paper
18 x 24"

Granuaile is a legendary pirate queen and gaelic chieftain, who lived over 400 years ago. She became one of the most notorious and celebrated women in Elizabethan England. Also known as Grace O' Malley, she challenged convention to become a powerful leader in Ireland. I recommend a wonderful book about her, "Granuaile, Ireland's Pirate Queen" by Anne Chambers, which I picked up in an Irish bookstore a couple of years ago. Stories of unconventional women in history sometimes influence my own iconography.

Also referenced in this drawing, is an Ogham Stone which includes a simple text. In my mother's village of Ardmore, there are two of these ancient stone markers, within 5th century ruins, near a 12th C Round Tower. As these stones were sometimes located at crossroads around Ireland, the primitive written text often consists of directions to various locations. However, they sometimes include such gossipy comments as " got drunk and fell down".