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Westport boat sails up the Thames


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED Joan Mulloy aboard her ocean racing boat, ‘Believe in Grace’, is pictured having completed a special trip from the west of Ireland to London, retracing the route of her formidable ancestor, Grace O’Malley.

Westport pro-sailor, Joan Mulloy, sailed along the River Thames to Tower Bridge last week, completing a special journey replicating one made by her formidable ancestor, the legendary Granuaile, over 400 years ago. Under black and grey sails emblazoned with her name, Grace O’Malley Irish Pirate Queen, Joan retraced the route from Mayo to London, the same journey that saw the Irish Pirate Sea Queen come face to face with the Virgin Queen in their historic meeting at Greenwich in late summer of 1593.
In keeping with the re-enactment, Joan brought a special presentation bottle of Grace O’Malley Irish Whiskey on board commemorating the famous meeting which founded a mutual respect between these two formidable ladies, along with a unique friendship.  The legend recalls that Grace gifted a bottle of Irish whiskey to the Queen who was well known for her partiality to ‘uisce beatha’, having stocks of it delivered to her court. 
Whether the whiskey aided in appeasing her highness is not documented, but records reveal that for Grace the trip was successful in its aim. Grace received ‘clemencie and favour’ from Queen Elizabeth I, who following the meeting, released Grace’s son Tibbot, restored his lands and gave the royal assent that Grace could continue her business of ‘maintenance by land and sea’ without hindrance or interference from the Queen’s governors.
Grace O’Malley Irish Whiskey is supporting Joan in her many sailing and racing endeavours and Joan will represent the brand at events and in a number of special challenges in 2019.  Joan’s trip took her ten days to complete in her ocean racing boat, ‘Believe In Grace’, reaching Tower Bridge in London on Saturday last, September 7, the birthdate of the Virgin Queen, Queen Elizabeth I.