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Aoife (/ˈfə/ EE-fə; Irish: [ˈiːfʲə]; also spelled Aífe, Aeife) is an Irish feminine given name. The name is probably derived from the 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]

In Irish mythology, Aífe is the daughter of Airdgeimm, a warrior woman in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. Aífe or Aoife is also the second wife of King Lir in the Irish myth Children of Lir and the twin sister (and, at times, the enemy) of Scathach. T. F. O'Rahilly supposed that the Irish heroine reflects an otherwise unknown goddess representing a feminine counterpart to Gaulish Esus.[3]

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.

Given name[edit]

Aoife by John Duncan


Fictional characters[edit]


See also[edit]


  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.

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