Aoife MacMurrough

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Aoife MacMurrough
The Marriage of Strongbow and Eva (1854) by Daniel Maclise, a romanticised depiction of the union between Aoife and Richard de Clare in the ruins of Waterford
Spouse(s) Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
Noble family MacMurrough-Kavanagh family
Father Dermot MacMurrough
Mother Mor O'Toole
Born 1145
Died 1188

Aoife MacMurrough (c. 1145 – 1188, Irish: Aoife Ní Diarmait), also known by later historians as Eva of Leinster, was the daughter of Dermot MacMurrough (c. 1110 – 1171) (Irish: Diarmait Mac Murchada), King of Leinster, and his wife Mor O'Toole (c. 1114 – 1191).

Marriage and rights[edit]

On the 29 August 1170, following the Norman invasion of Ireland that her father had requested, she married Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, better known as Strongbow, the leader of the Norman invasion force, in Christchurch cathedral in Waterford. She had been promised to Strongbow by her father who had visited England to ask for an invasion army. He was not allowed to give his daughter away, as under Early Irish Law Aoife had the choice of whom she married, but she had to agree to an arranged marriage, that is, to select from a list of suitable suitors.

Under Anglo-Norman law, this gave Strongbow succession rights to the Kingdom of Leinster. Under Irish Brehon law, the marriage gave her a life interest only, after which any land would normally revert to male cousins; but Brehon law also recognised a transfer of "swordland" following a conquest. Aoife conducted battles on behalf of her husband and is sometimes known as Red Eva (Irish: Aoife Rua).

She had two sons and a daughter with her husband Richard de Clare, and via their daughter, Isabel de Clare, within a few generations their descendants included much of the nobility of Europe including all the monarchs of Scotland since Robert I (1274–1329) and all those of England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom since Henry IV (1367–1413); and, apart from Anne of Cleves, all the queen consorts of Henry VIII.

Name Birth Death Notes
Isabel de Clare, 4th Countess of Pembroke 1172 1220 m. Aug 1189, Sir William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke, Lord Marshal, son of John Fitz Gilbert, Marshal (Marechal) of England, and Sibylla of Salisbury.
Gilbert de Striguil (Chepstow), 3rd Earl of Pembroke 1173 1185 Inherited title from father but died as a minor. The title then went to his sister's husband on marriage. Isabel's husband, William Marshal, was given the title Earl of Pembroke in his own right by King John of England. Until that time, Marshal did not call himself the Earl until he had achieved the privilege in his own right, rather than through his marriage to Isabel.
Joan de Clare 1175  ? m. Godfrey Gamage, son of William De Gamages and Elizabeth De Miners.
Children of Aoife MacMurrough and Richard de Clare (Strongbow)

See also[edit]



  • O Croinin, Daibhi (1995) Early Medieval Ireland 400-1200 London: Longman Press; p. 281
  • Salmonson, Jessica Amanda.(1991) The Encyclopedia of Amazons. Paragon House. Page 160. ISBN 1-55778-420-5
  • Weis, Frederick Lewis Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700, Lines: 66-26, 175-7, 261-30