Aisling (name)

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An 1883 painting by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes depicting an aisling
Meaning'dream' or 'vision'
Other names
Short form(s)Ash

Aisling is an Irish language feminine given name meaning "dream" or "vision".[1][2][3] It refers to an aisling, a poetic genre that developed in Irish poetry during the 17th and 18th centuries. There is no evidence that it was used as a given name before the 20th century.[4] The name is included in Reverend Patrick Woulfe's 1923 collection of Irish names, with the comment that the name was in use in Derry and Omeath.[5]

There are many variant anglicised forms of the name including Ashling, Aislin, Aislinn, Aislene, Ashlyn, and Ashlynn.[4] Pronunciation of the name also varies, with the most common pronunciation being /ˈæʃlɪŋ/ ASH-ling; other forms acceptable to Irish speakers are /ˈæʃlɪn/ ASH-lin and /ˈæʃln/ ASH-leen. Others, such as /ˈzlɪŋ/ AYZ-ling, /ˈæslɪŋ/ ASS-ling, and /ˈslɪŋ/ AYSS-ling, do not follow the Irish pronunciation.

Aisling held steady in the top 20 girls' names in Ireland from 1984 to 1996 [6] and is therefore often linked with the millennial generation in Ireland, most notably in the "Oh My God What A Complete Aisling" novels.[7]

Aisling was the 31st most popular name for baby girls in Ireland in 2005, while Ashlyn was the 140th most popular name for baby girls in the United States in 2006, and the variant spelling Ashlynn the 293rd most popular name for baby girls in the United States in 2006. Ashlyn is also occasionally regarded as a modern name derived from both Ashley and Lynn.[8]


Fictional characters[edit]

  • Aisling, the titular subject in the song "Aisling", on Shane MacGowan's 1994 album The Snake
  • Aisling, the main character in Malinda Lo's novel Ash
  • Aisling in the Irish animated TV programme Ballybraddan
  • Aisling in the anonymous novel Diary of an Oxygen Thief[importance?]
  • Aisling, a hero in the video game Gigantic
  • Aisling in the novel Son of the Shadows
  • Aisling, aspiring film director in the play Stones in His Pockets
  • Aisling, a young faerie girl in the animated film The Secret of Kells
  • Aisling (character), the protagonist of the Aisling book series by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen, Irish Book Awards multiple winner
  • Ashling, the Pilgrim, a character in the TCG Magic: The Gathering female fire elemental, traveling through her world[importance?]
  • Aisling, a recurring character in the British-made sitcom Derry Girls
  • Queen Aislinn, wife of the tyrant King Freyne and mother of King Einon in the movie Dragonheart
  • Ashelin in the Jak and Daxter video game series, introduced in Jak II
  • Aisling Duval, a princess of the Empire in the video game Elite: Dangerous
  • Aislinn Foy, the main character in Melissa Marr's novel Wicked Lovely
  • Aisling Laffrey, a character in the video game Path of Exile, member of Immortal Syndicate
  • Aisling "Ash" McCarthy, one of the two main characters in the novel Like
  • Aisling Noon, a character in The Wheel of Time book series by Robert Jordan
  • Aisling O'Connor, a main character in the novel Light a Penny Candle
  • Aisling O'Dowd, a character in the television show Can't Cope, Won't Cope
  • Aisling Querelle, a character in the television show Carnival Row
  • Aislinn Wishart, a character in the Japanese manga Saki

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Irish Spelling and Pronunciation". Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  2. ^ Campbell, Mike. "User Comments for the name Aisling". Behind the Name. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  3. ^ Campbell, Mike (22 April 2018). "User Comments for the name Aisling". Behind the Name. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Aisling". Behind the Name.
  5. ^ "AISLING, AISLINN - Irish Names and Surnames". Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  6. ^ "Baby Names of Ireland - CSO - Central Statistics Office". Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  7. ^ Séaghdha, Darach Ó. "The Irish For...What can we learn from the rise and fall of Irish girls' names?". Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Ashlyn". Behind the Name.