Kid’s Craic: Ahoy Matey!

By Megan Lardie

August is International Pirate Month. An organization called the Rogues’ Armada started ARRR-Gust International Pirate Month several years ago. It is a small group with over 1500 members from all over the world. The purpose of International Pirate Month is meant for pirate performers to raise money for charity.

Pirates have been around forever, and for the most part, have a bad reputation. Pirates mostly robbed other ships transporting goods on the water, but some attacked towns on the coast.

The earliest reports of piracy dates to ancient Greece, when Roman cargo ships were robbed of grain and olive oil. Pirates showed their terrifying reputation by flying the Jolly Roger flag, the one with skull and crossbones on it. It was well known that prisoners were often made to walk the plank to their doom in the sea below.

Who Were the Pirates?
The Golden Age of piracy is considered the time from 1650-1720. It was during these years that William “Captain” Kidd, “Calico” Jack Rackham, and the fearsome Blackbeard (Edward Teach) ruled the high seas.

Many of these young men became pirates due to the social disruption in England and other countries. Small farmers were forced off land by landowners and small business owners could not keep up with larger businesses.

Urban areas such as London became overcrowded and there were not enough funds to meet the needs of all the poor.  Several young men took jobs at sea, but they did not pay much. The job was brutal and had strict rules.

Piracy was a way to get rich quickly and exert power over other people. This sounded very exciting and appealing!

Famous Pirates
There are many legends about pirates, but two of the most famous pirates were women, and were from Ireland! Grainne Mhaol: Pirate Queen of Mayo is a legendary Irish pirate that lived in Ireland in the 16th century.

Grainne (Gran yah) had wanted to go with her father on a trip to Spain, but was told she could not go because her long hair would catch in the ropes of the ship. This made her very angry, so she cut off all her hair! Her father had no other excuses, so he let her on the ship. This is how she got her nickname; in Irish, maol means bald.

When she was older, she sailed along the west coast, going from island to island, raiding as she went. She built up a hoard of wealth, thus earning her the title of Pirate Queen. Grainne became a very strong woman and was feared along every coast in Ireland.

Grainne, along with her husband’s family, held off King Henry XIII and his forces from entering Galway Bay as England was trying to increase its rule over Ireland. She was eventually arrested in 1584 and is believed to be buried on Clare Island, but this has never been proven.

Anne Bonny
Anne Bonny is another famous Irish pirate. She operated in the Caribbean Sea in the early 1700s. She was born in Ireland and moved to London and then to the Province of Carolina (part of the United States now) when she was about 10. Her mother died when she was a teen and she had to care for her father and the household.

Bonny fell in love with a small-time pirate, but her father was against the relationship, so he kicked her out of the house! Anne and her husband James then moved to the Bahamas, which was a hangout for pirates. Anne and James divorced a short time later.

Anne then met ‘Calico Jack” Rackham and became his pirate partner and lover.  Anne and Calico Jack were captured and sentenced to death in October 1720, but Anne was not executed because she was pregnant at the time. Her fate is still not known.

Interested in learning more about pirates?  Head to your local library and ask the friendly librarian for a good recommendation. There is so much information available about so many pirates and their legends.

Kids in the Kitchen:

Chicken, Baguette, and Tomatoes with Pesto

  • 4-6 small chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4-6 slices baguette
  • 4 Tbsp Pesto plus extra to serve, if you like
  • Cherry tomatoes on the vine
  • Handful of basil leaves (optional)


  • Heat oven to 400 F. Cut a square piece of parchment paper for each chicken breast or thigh.
  • Brush the baking tray with oil and lay on the parchment squares. Top each piece of baguette with a piece of chicken, season and spoon 1 tbsp pesto onto the chicken. Arrange the tomatoes in the gaps.
  • Bake for 40 mins until the chicken is cooked – if not done, return to the oven for 10 mins, then check again. Serve with basil scattered over, if using, and more pesto, if you like.

Literature Corner:

Pirates on the Farm
by Denette Fretz

Find out what happened when pirates move in next to the unadventurous Sanders family. Will they be able to handle the outrageous behavior of the pirates? Or will they learn how important it is to love your neighbors, whoever they are? For ages 3-7, 40 pages.

Literature Corner:

Treasure Island
by Robert Louis Stevenson Learn about the adventures of young Jim Hawkins, who finds a treasure map. He sets out to find the buried treasure of Captain Flint. Along the way, he meets Long John Silver, a one-legged cook who ends up leading a pirate mutiny! For ages 7-9, 162 pages

Where is the treasure? = Cá bhfuil an stór?

Lardie’s Laughs

Q. How do you save a dying pirate?
A. CPArrrrrr!

Q. What does a pirate eat for breakfast?
A. Captain Crunch

*Megan is a Reading Intervention educator with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. She has a BA from Hiram College and BA+ from Ashland University. She resides in Avon Lake with her husband, Joe, and their five children. She can be reached at [email protected].

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