Queens : Áine

 

Name:  Áine 'Brightness', 'Delight'

 

Race:  Tuatha Dé Danann

 

Title: 'The Leanaun Sidhe'

 

PropertiesGoddess of Healing, The Spark of Life, Vitality,

Fertility, Protection, Prosperity

 

SistersGrian (The Sun Goddess), Aoife.

 

Father: Manannan Mac Lír

 

Foster-Father: Eoghanach fairy king of Munster

 

Grandfather: Lír

 

Associated Deities:  Danu Morrigan Brigit Crom Dubh

 

Province: Munster

 

Patroness of: The Eoghanacht Sept of Munster

 

Associated Sites:  Cnoc Áine, Co. Limerick, Tobar Áine, Co. Tyrone,  Dun Áine (Dunany) Co. Louth,    Lios Áine/ Cnoc Áine Co. Derry,   Cnoc Áine near Teelin, Co Donegall.

 

Raped by:  Ailill Olom

 

Bean Sidhe of: The Corr family of Derry - she wails to presage the death of family members at Alt na Sion (Vale of Storms)

Associated Herbs, Trees & Fungi: 

Healing : Angelica Balm Blackberry Cowslip Elder Fennel Flax Garlic  

Goat's Rue Mugwort Nettle Oak

Fertility : Hawthorn Mistletoe Oak

Prosperity : Alfalfa Ash Elder  

Protection :  Agrimony Angelica Ash Birch Blackberry  

Bladderwrack Broom Elder Fennel Flax  

Holly Lavender Mallow Mistletoe Mugwort Nettle Oak Parsley

 

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Áine was a goddess of the Celtic peoples and later in christian times she became known as a fairy queen.  There is an ancient cairn and three small ring barrows known as Mullach an Triuir on the summit of Cnoc Áine which is near Knockainy village in Co. Limerick.  She was revered up until the 19th century when men and women brought large torches of hay up to the summit of Cnoc Áine where they circled the ring barrows anti-clockwise before going down again and sprinkling the ashes of the torches over their fields and livestock.

Among herbalists and folk-healers Áine was understood to be responsible for the vital spark of life which they understood traversed the entire body every twenty-four hours.

duncan17.jpg (104172 bytes)

image by John Duncan. King Ailill Olom and Aine

  No bloodletting was undertaken on days associated with Áine as it was believed that the vital spark would flow away and leave the patient dead.  The Friday, Saturday and Sunday following Lughnasadh Day (Aug 1st) were sacred to her.

Her name means 'Delight, Pleasure, Agility and Melody'.  She is often deemed to be a more approachable version of the Goddess Anu.

She is also associated with Omagh in Co. Tyrone and Derry where there are wells dedicated to her called Tobar Aine.  There is a stone called Cathair Áine near Dunany Point in Co. Louth and it is said that insane people and animals are drawn to sit on this stone and that once they do they can never regain their senses.

In the time of the Tuatha Dé Danann she helped the family of Eoghanacht take over the hill at Knockainy ever afterwards known as Áine's hill and she resided in the eastern part of the sidhe or fairy mound.

Like all the people of the Sidhe, she was kind and helpful to those that respected and venerated her but she exacted revenge on any that displeased or harmed her.  The 2nd century King of Munster, Ailill Olom found this out to his cost when he was overtaken by lust at the sight of her and raped her.  She bit off his ear and then later on she had him killed for this insult to her.

Stories, Myths and Legends associated with Áine

King Ailill Olom and the rape of Áine

The Yew of the Disputing Sons

The Hard Servant

 

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