Aoife (/ˈfə/ EE-fə; Irish: [ˈiːfʲə]; also spelled Aífe, Aeife) is an Irish feminine given name. The name is probably derived from the Irish Gaelic aoibh, which means "beauty" or "radiance".[1] It has been compared to the Gaulish name Esvios (Latinized Esuvius, feminine Esuvia), which may be related to the tribal name Esuvii and the theonym Esus.[2]

Pronunciation/ˈfə/ EE-fə
Language(s)Goidelic languages
Meaningbeautiful, radiant
Region of originIreland
Other names
Related namesfrom Aífe (Aeife)
Aífe; by John Duncan

Irish mythologyEdit

In Irish mythology, Aífe the daughter of Airdgeimm, sister of Scathach, is a warrior woman beloved of Cuchullain in the Ulster Cycle. T. F. O'Rahilly supposed that the Irish heroine reflects an otherwise unknown goddess representing a feminine counterpart to Gaulish Esus.[3]

Aífe or Aoife was also one of the wives of Lir in the Oidheadh chloinne Lir ("Fate of the Children of Lir"), who turned her stepchildren into swans. There is also Aoife (Áiffe ingen Dealbhaoíth), a woman transformed into a crane, whose skin after death became Manannán's "Crane-bag".[4]

Biblical renderingEdit

The name is unrelated to the Biblical name Eva, which was rendered as Éabha in Irish, but due to the similarity in sound, Aoife has often been anglicised as Eva or Eve. Aoife MacMurrough (also known as Eva of Leinster) was a 12th-century Irish noblewoman. The first use of Aoife (that spelling) as a given name in 20th-century Ireland was in 1912.[5]

Given nameEdit


Characters in modern fictionEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mike Campbell. "Behind the Name: Meaning, origin and history of the name Aoife". Behind the Name.
  2. ^ Ériu, Volumes 14-15 (1946), p. 5.
  3. ^ Donnchadh Ó Corráin, Fidelma Maguire, Gaelic personal names (1981), p. 16.
  4. ^ MacNeill, Eoin (1908). VIII "The Crane-bag". Duanaire Finn: The book of the Lays of Fionn. pt. 1. ITS 7. For the Irish Texts Society, by D. Nutt. pp. 21–22, 118–120.
  5. ^ "Aoife Maira Treacey in the Ireland, Civil Registration Births Index, 1864-1958". 1912. Retrieved 26 December 2018.

External linksEdit