Facts and Events
Gormflaith ingen Murchada was born in Naas, County Kildare, Ireland, around 960. She was the daughter of Murchad mac Finn, King of Leinster, sister of his successor, Mael Mórdha mac Murchada. According to the annalistic accounts, she was married to Olaf Cuaran, the Viking king of Dublin and York until his death in 981; and mother to his son, King Sigtrygg Silkbeard. Additionally, and perhaps most famously, after her son, Sigtrygg's defeat at the Battle of Glen Mama in 999, Gormlaith was married to Brian Boru, the King of Munster and High King of Ireland, and mother to his son and later King of Munster, Donnchad. It is also alleged that she married, Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill after Olaf's death, but this is somewhat contentious as the sources for this marriage are less reliable. The Irish annals record Gormlaith's death in 1030. Gormlaith is most infamous for allegedly inciting men to such a degree that she caused the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. Given that her goading episode exists only in literary sources not contemporary with her lifetime, and, indeed, written long after her death, it is highly unlikely that such an event ever occurred. Since the majority of depictions of Gormlaith were composed well after her life, very little is known about the actual historical figure.