Ua Gormáin, Flann (d. 1174), chief lector of Armagh, may have belonged to an ecclesiastical line of the Uí Bairrche dynasty of Leinster. As a young man, Flann travelled to England and to the Frankish realms in pursuit of further education; according to his obit in AU, he spent twenty years among the Franks and Saxons before being appointed head of the school of Armagh, apparently in the early 1150s. The claim that he was ‘twenty years directing the schools of Ireland’ presumably alludes to the efforts, during this time, by Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair (qv), overking of Connacht and claimant to the high-kingship of Ireland, to promote the primatial see as an island-wide educational centre of the highest prestige. In 1162 Flann was present at the synod of Clane, under the direction of the archbishop of Armagh, Gilla-meic-Liac (qv), when it was decreed that all lectors of Irish ecclesiastical schools were to be alumni of Armagh. This move has been viewed by historians as an attempt to create an embryonic university at Armagh. Flann was at the centre of a further initiative to enhance the international standing of his school in 1169, when the lectorship of Armagh was endowed by Ua Conchobair with an annual payment of ten cattle for the teaching of students in Ireland and Scotland. He died in 1174.
AU; Ann. Tig.; AFM; F. J. Byrne, ‘The trembling sod: Ireland in 1169’, NHI, ii, 41; Smith, Colonisation and conquest, 25