Lady Una Redfox
Captain, The Siren's Song
Una Redfox was born in 1530 in Connacht, on the Western coast of Ireland in the county Mayo, this included Clare Island which the family owned. Her father was a successful merchant sailor, Lord of the county Mayo and Chieftain of the Redfox clan. Born into wealth and privilege, Redfox was well educated like most children of Irish nobility.
When she was a teenager she begged her father to take her on a trading expedition to Spain, but he refused saying that her long hair would be in danger of getting tangled in the rigging. Undaunted, Redfox cut off her hair much to the embarrassment of her father, earning her the nickname Una Mhaol, Una the Bald.
Upon her father’s death Redfox inherited his fleet, lands and the title of chieftain.
In 1546 Redfox married the heir to the O’Flaherty title and had three children with him before he was killed by a rivaling clan. It is said that his clan was so taken with Redfox that they accepted her as their Cheiftain and left with her when she returned to her homelands.
After her husband’s death, Redfox discover a shipwrecked sailor and took his as her lover, but he was killed by the MacMahons. Filled with rage, Redfox attacked the MacMahons castle of Dooma and killed her lover’s murderers, earning her the nickname, Dark Lady of Dooma and taking their castle for her own. Home again, Redfox lead her clan on land and sea, being remembered as successful, strong and fearless, fighting beside her men again the growing English invasion of Ireland. Sir Richard Bingham was the appointed Lord of her lands, and Redfox was locked in an ongoing struggle to maintain her power and protect her people.
In 1566 she married again to Richard Bourke, a neighboring chieftain with lands along the coast providing Redfox’s fleet to access many of the coves hidden along the coast. In the tradition of the time a couple’s first year of marriage was probationary and if after a year either were unstained they could dissolve the marriage. After one year, Redfox locked Bourke out of his own castle, telling him he was dismissed from their marriage. This was only temporary, as the two remained close for the rest of their lives.
Growing up on the coast allowed Redfox to have a vast knowledge of the coastline, all the nook and crannies that were perfect to slip her ships into, giving her an amazing tactile advantage against attacking vessels. She was such a devoted sailor that she gave birth to her youngest son while at sea and when her ship was attacked the next day, Redfox came above deck, berating her crew for weak that she had to come join the fight. In 1593, after the endless harassment from Bingham, including the murder of her son, Redfox sailed to England to petition Queen Elizabeth the First to put a stop to Bourke’s power and remove him from Ireland, a request Elizabeth granted. When they met Redfox shocked the court by not bowing to Elizabeth, as she consider herself the Queen of Ireland and an equal to Queen Elizabeth.
*biography based on the life of Gráinne Ní Mháille, sourced from the book Ireland’s Pirate Queen: The True Story of Grace O’Malley by Anne Chambers
Order of Precedence
Gyronny argent and gules, a lymphad sable and a bordure Or.
Name registered with the College of Arms in June 2016.
Device registered with the College of Arms in June 2016.
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