A new visitor dedicated to the pirate queen Grace O'Malley opens at Louisburgh in County Mayo.

Gaelic folk heroine Grace O'Malley, also known as Granuaile or Gráinne Mhaol, is the subject of the new interpretive centre in Louisburgh, set up to promote the history of the area and attract tourists.

Celebrations in Louisburgh, County Mayo for the official opening of the "Granuaile Interpretive Centre", a location for the study of Connaught's medieval history. 

The centre was inaugurated by Minister for the Environment Padraig Flynn who spoke about the importance of reawakening an interest in our historic past and in learning how to exploit it. 

We have to pay more attention to tourism related to archaeology and to history and to the folklore of the various areas around the country. There's a great richness in our heritage and there's a great need to protect it. And the best way to protect it, as far as I'm concerned, is to proclaim it.

According to legend, Granuaile (Gráinne Mhaol) took a scissors to her hair, one of the many stories documented by her biographer Anne Chambers who joked with the minister as he took the scissors to cut the ribbon on the new centre.  

The new centre is party funded by the European Community and Combat Poverty cost around £30,000 to set up. For Anne Chambers, the centre is of social and educational importance. 

Grace O'Malley was the most extraordinary woman to have ever graced the pages of our history. A woman who was a sea pirate, a mercenary, a leader of a private army of two hundred people, an admiral of a fleet of galleys.

Lord Altmont, a direct descendent of Gráinne Mhaol, describes her as a woman of enormous courage.

The Granuaile Interpretive Centre is the brainchild of the Louisburgh Development Company which is attempting to develop all of the area's resources as part of a four year programme.  

The emphasis is being placed on turning history and folklore into tourism income.

Project Coordinator Justin Sammon, Mayo County Manager Michael O'Malley, and Charles Synnott of Ireland West Tourism, outline the importance of the area's history in promoting tourism.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 23 June 1988. The reporter is Jim Fahy.