Brian Ború and Gormflaith...
Gormlaith also spelled Gormflaith and Gormfhlaith is an Irish name for females. It could possibly mean “illustrious or splendid queen or princess.”
Gormflaith ingen Murchada was the daughter of Murchad mac Finn, King of Leinster. She was born around 960 AD. She is best known for being the third wife of the High King of Ireland, Brian Ború.
She is mentioned in the Njál’s sagas, where she is known as Kormloo and mentioned as being “edowed with great beauty…., but utterly wicked.” Most of her life story was told throughout Cogad Gáedel re Gallaib or The War of the Irish with the Foreigners. The foreigners in this tale are the Vikings.
Gormflaith’s first husband was Olaf Cuaran, the Viking King of Dublin, Northumbria, and York. Their son Sigtrygg “Silkbeard” Olafsson would later become the King of Dublin. After Olaf’s death, Gormflaith would remarry – this time to Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill, the King of Mide and High King of Ireland. His victory at the Battle of Tara against Olaf Cuaran in 980 resulted in Ireland’s control of the Kingdom of Dublin. He was overthrown as king by Brian Boru, King of Munster, in 1002.
There were wars raging between the north and south of Ireland and between the many clans for years. The King of Leinster Máel Mórdha mac Murchada (brother of Gormflaith) allied with his nephew, King Sigtrygg, to overthrow the King of Munster.
However in 999, in the Battle of Glenmama, they would be defeated by Brian Ború. In order to negotiate peace between the kingdoms, a double marriage occurred. One of Brian’s daughters married King Sigtrygg, and Brian took Gormflaith for his wife.
It is speculated that after Brian later divorced Gormflaith she plotted revenge by helping her brother and son to defeat him. Máel Mórdha had never fully succeeded to Brian’s rule. Around 1012 things came to head again between King Brian and the lands of Leinster and Dublin. In 1014, at the Battle of Clontarf, High King Brian Ború was killed, but his army was large and so strong that they were still victorious.
The son of Brian Ború and Gormflaith, Donnchad, killed his half-brother, Tadc in 1023. As a result, he would be King of Munster for 40 years following.