'Going to a new play is always interesting. There are no preceived ideas and nothing to compare it to.

"Matriarchs" is a play about two very powerful women, Elizabeth 1st of England and Grace O'Malley the Pirate Queen. From the moment the play opened you were drawn into the battle of wits between these two women, Graces son, Tibbott Burke and Robert, the Earl of Essex. It is about love, marriage, power and the challenges posed by female ageing

Ann Chambers dialog ue was powerful and surefooted, discriptive and dramatic and well served by all three actors.

Regina McCormack as Grace O'Malley brought a great earthiness to the role of the Pirate Queen and Bronach Joyce as Elizabeth 1st was regal, haughty and commanding. Conor Clarke played both Tibbott and Essex with great contrast and confidence.

Lighting and direction were spot on and the scene changes were seamless.

This is a play that leaves you wanting to know more about Grace O'Malley and deserves to be seen by a wider audience.'


John Rubin

'Just imagine I had to travel to the West Coast of Ireland to learn from a wonderful new play by Irish author Anne Chambers about a piece of Anglo-Irish history that has evaded me all these years, despite all the films and books on The Tudors and all the Documentaries made by the eminent Professor Dr David Starkey.

I will not tell you what I learnt and do a "spoiler" about this first play, so well written produced and directed by the author, but I will say that the staging and acting was of the highest standard and the story quite riveting. A sell out production each night with queues of people waiting and hoping in vain for ticket returns and in the end unfortunate to miss an excellent night's entertainment'.


Mary Darcy 

"We attended Matriarchs and loved it. So fabulous a got a standing ovation. Terrific performance by the aptly named Regina McCormack as Grace O. Elizabeth Regina was played by Bronagh Joyce whom I took to be
English so good was the accent. Earl of Essex was played by a school boy who was remarkably good for his age.

The whole notion of Grace O'Malley seemed mythical and yet she did exist. How she managed to have a mind of her own and leadership qualities at a time when the Church patriarchs (as well as husbands/fathers) did your thinking for you - is puzzling. Great scriptwriting by Anne C. She's certainly a marvel.''




The Board and Management of Westport Town Theatre are delighted to announce that MATRIARCHS a new 2 act play will have its Irish premier in the Theatre on 30 & 31 August at 8pm.


Written and directed by Grace O’Malley’s biographer, Anne Chambers, it stars Regina McCormack as Grace O’Malley, Bronach Joyce as Queen Elizabeth I and Conor Clarke as Tibbott Bourke/Earl of Essex.

The meeting of the Pirate Queen of Ireland, Grace O’Malley, and the Virgin Queen of England, Elizabeth I, is a fascinating historical event, having brought together two iconic female leaders imbued with a lifetime of experience and knowledge.

MATRIARCHS is a drama about women’s relationships with fathers, husbands, lovers and sons; about the boundaries placed on women by society, marriage, motherhood and love; the juggling of a career with family life; breaching the boundaries of male power and bias and the challenges posed by female ageing. What Grace O’Malley and Queen Elizabeth I have to say may explain why these two female trailblazers remain as relevant today as they were over four hundred years ago.


'International focus on issues such as gender equality, female empowerment as well as ageism make the themes inherent in this drama resonate even more today. Grace O’Malley and Queen Elizabeth I shine as inspirational beacons to what women every where can achieve, even like them, in the most demanding and difficult environments.’ Anne Chambers


Tickets 20 euro now available from



★Anne's new book Launched at 'Mayo Day' in the National Museum, Turlough, Co Mayo. ★  

Newly published book by Anne Chambers


For The Cause: A Castlebar Family’s Stand for Irish Freedom, 1914-1924 details the struggle for Irish Independence through the personal experiences of a Castlebar family and their community. The book is, in effect, the hitherto undocumented history of the county town during this momentous period of conflict and change.

It covers the rise of nationalism in the town in the early 1900s, the founding of the Volunteers, through World War 1 and conscription, the 1916 Rising, the subsequent War of Independence, the Civil War and its immediate aftermath.

Through the hitherto unpublished personal papers and military records of Castlebar-born James Chambers, Commandant 1st Battalion, West Mayo Brigade, Old IRA, John Chambers, Captain A Column, 1st Battalion and Annie Chambers (Mellett) member of Castlebar executive Cumann na mBan For The Cause presents new and timely information about this important period of Castlebar history.

The research reveals the part played by the Chambers family from New Antrim Street and their comrades in historic events such as the establishment of Sinn Fein, the anti-conscription and election campaigns in the town, the First Dail in 1919, the activities of the Black & Tans and Auxiliaries, the formation of the Ist Battalion, West Mayo Brigade and the Castlebar Flying Column, the Kilmeena and Skirdagh ambushes, the visits of Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera to the town in the 1920s, the burning of the County Jail and Military Barracks and the experiences of Castlebar-born Republican prisoners confined in Hare Park and Tintown internment camps on the Curragh. The book also contains rare and iconic photographs of the period.

While the contribution of other Mayo town are well documented, as author Anne Chambers discovered, Castlebar’s contribution to this period of history has tended to be overlooked. ‘This I feel was in part due to the reluctance of the principals involved in the struggle for Irish Freedom in the town to talk about their contribution to the cause but instead to look to the future rather than dwell on the past for the good of community relations especially in the aftermath of the Civil War. I think the time is now right for their story and the story of Castlebar during these critical and formative times to be told.’

For The Cause was launched in the Museum of Country Life, Turlough on Friday 3 May at 5.30 pm by the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett.

Copies (price 20 euro) are available from Castle Books, Castle St, Castlebar.

Proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated by the author to a designated public cause in Castlebar in the memory of the Chambers/Mellett families.

Pictures are Author Anne Chambers and John MacEllin, Balla, at the book launch in Turlough Museum, Castle Books, Castle Street, Castlebar

Available from Mayo Books (094 902 4422)




International Woman's Day 2019

★Anne was a guest on the Elaine Show, for International Woman's Day, 2019.★

To celebrate International Woman's Day, Anne was a guest on the Elaine Show, Virgin Media, TV which aired on Friday 8th of March to chat about GRACE O'MALLEY - the pioneering female trailblazer.

Pictured are presenter Elaine Crowley and author Anne Chambers after the Show.

T.K. Whitaker: Portrait of a Patriot

In 2002, an eighty-five-year-old former civil servant was voted 'Irishman of the Century'.


Indian Prince KS Ranjitsinhji was the most famous cricket-player of his generation


Fearless leader by land and by sea, political pragmatist and tactician, rebel, pirate and matriarch, the ’most notorious woman in all the coasts of Ireland’ GRACE O’MALLEY challenges and manipulates the turbulent politics of the 16th century

Grace O'Malley: The Biography of Ireland's Pirate Queen, 1530-1603 is the sole published biographical account of Grace O’Malley, sourced from original manuscript material, both in public and in private domain. For the latter, the author, Anne Chambers, had sole and exclusive access. Much of this material was located and decyphered in its original form (i.e.16th century manuscripts) by the author and is exclusive to her book. Furthermore, the presentation, opinions and analyses in the book are exclusive to the author. The author reserves all her rights in this book. No part of her book may be reproduced or utilised in any form or media, written or oral, or by means digital, electronic or mechanical, including photographic, film, video recording, photocopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system. Permission from the author and publisher must first be obtained to reproduce any part of or quotations from the book. Any transgression in this regard will be addressed. For more information, comments or enquiries please contact: Info: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Copyright © 2022.


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