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Gorman is an Irish surname and is the reduced Anglicized form of the Gaelic Mac Gormáin and Ó Gormáin "son (or descendant) of Gormán". The name is derived from the diminutive of the Gaelic word "gorm" meaning "dark blue", "noble". The nature of the name is a result of the Celtic tradition of painting ones body before going into battle as a form of psychological warfare.
The Gorman motto in Gaelic is "Tosach catha agus deinadh air" meaning "First in the battle, last in the fight". The Latin version is "Primi et ultimi in bello" meaning "First and last in war".
The MacGorman (MacGormain) were lords of the Uí Bairrche, who were originally from what is now southern County Wexford, in the baronies of Forth and Bargy, but they were driven from this territory by the Laigin of Uí Cheinnselaig. The main body settled among their allies among the northern Laigin, mainly in the area of the barony of Slievemargy in the southeastern corner of modern County Laois and the adjoining portions of County Carlow and County Kilkenny.
Around the 9th century, they were driven from this territory as a result of the the Viking invasions, which began around 795 A.D. In this era, the Gorman clan split into two groups with the main group settling in County Monaghan and County Clare. The Clare branch became very numerous, and their chiefs became the hereditary field marshalls of the O'Briens. The other group made their way to County Meath where, in later years, they built Caislean MacGormain from which Gormanstown takes its name.
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