(Modern Irish Aoife
/iːfʲə/) is a character from the Ulster Cycle
of Irish mythology
. The daughter of Ardgeimm, she is a female warrior frequently in conflict with Scáthach
's teacher. Her homeland is called Alpa, usually understood to mean Alba
). Cúchulainn defeats her in combat and forces her to make peace with Scáthach. They later sleep together, producing the child Connla
. When Connla travels to Ireland
Aífe places several geasa
("the first never to give way to any living person, but to die sooner than be made turn back; the second, not to refuse a challenge from the greatest champion alive, but to fight him at all risks, even if he was sure to lose his life; the third, not to tell his name on any account, though he might be threatened with death for hiding it" ) on him that cause misunderstandings when Connla finally arrives. Father and son are drawn into battle, and Connla is slain. Aífe's story appears in Tochmarc Emire
(The Wooing of Emer
), and the death of her son is recounted in Aided Óenfhir Aífe
(The Tragic Death of Aífe's Only Son
), both of which are foretales to the great epic Táin Bó Cúailnge
. The LÉ Aoife (P22)
, a ship in the Irish Naval Service
, is named after her.
- MacKillop, James (1998). Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. London: Oxford. ISBN 0-1986-0967-1.
- Squire, Charles. Celtic Myth and Legend. Newcastle Publishing Co., USA, 1975. Reprinted from the first edition in 1905, Great Britain. ISBN 0-87877-029-1.