In Irish mythology
(pronounced "awnya" or "eye-na") is a goddess of love, growth, and cattle
, also perhaps associated with the sun
. She is the daughter of Egobail
, and sister of Aillen
. In some of the tales that mention her, she is the wife of Gearoid Iarla
. In other tales, rather than having a consensual marriage, he raped her, and she exacted her revenge by either changing him into a goose, killing him, or both. In yet other versions of her myth, she is the wife or daughter of the sea god Manannán mac Lir
. The feast of Midsummer Night
was held in her honor. In County Limerick
, she is remembered in more recent times as a "fairy
Áine is sometimes mistakenly equated with Danu
as her name bears a superficial resemblance to Anu.
"Aynia", reputedly the most powerful fairy in Ulster, may be a variant of the same figure.
About seven miles from Áine’s hill, Cnoc Áine in County Limerick, is the hill of the goddess Grian, Cnoc Gréine. Grian (literally, "sun") is believed to be either the sister of Áine, or another of Áine's manifestations. Due to Áine's connection with midsummer rites, it is possible that Áine and Grian may share a dual-goddess, seasonal function (such as seen in the Gaelic myths of the Cailleach and Brighid) with the two sisters representing the "two suns" of the year: Áine representing the light half of the year and the bright summer sun, and Grian the dark half of the year and the pale winter sun.
- Ellis, Peter Berresford, Dictionary of Celtic Mythology(Oxford Paperback Reference), Oxford University Press, (1994): ISBN 0195089618
- MacKillop, James. Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0192801201.
- O hOgain, Daithi "Myth, Legend and Romance: An Encyclopedia of the Irish Folk Tradition" Prentice Hall Press, (1991) : ISBN 0132759594 (the only dictionary/encyclopedia with source references for every entry)
- Wood, Juliette, The Celts: Life, Myth, and Art, Thorsons Publishers (2002): ISBN 0007640595