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1 An Amazonian chieftainess, ‘the hardest woman warrior in the world’, who lived in Alba [Scotland], according to several early Irish narratives. The daughter of Ardgeimm, she was frequently in conflict with Scáthach, who may be her double. Aífe cared for nothing so much as her horses and her chariot, and may have links with such Continental figures as Epona. In the best-known story about her, a pupil of Scáthach, the great Ulster hero Cúchulainn, vanquished her in combat and later begat the child Connla upon her. Cúchulainn later unwittingly killed the son. The story of her encounter with Cúchulainn is told in Tochmarc Emire [The Wooing of Emer]; and the death of Connla is in Aided Óenfhir Aífe [The Death of Aífe's Only Son].

2 The third of the three wives of Lir in Oidheadh Chlainne Lir [The Tragic Story of the Children of Lir]. She was the daughter of Ailill Aulomm and the sister of the children's mother, Áeb, and she became the cruel stepmother who transformed them into swans.

3 The daughter of Dealbhaoth and lover of Ilbrec, she was transformed into a crane by Iuchra, a jealous rival. As an amphibian, she spent much of her time in the water, the realm of Manannán mac Lir. When she died Manannán made her skin into the celebrated crane bag, which contained marvellous treasures and belonged to a succession of Irish gods and heroes.

4 The daughter of Belchú, wife of the Ulster hero Conall Cearnach; also known as Lendabair.

5 The daughter of Russ Failge and the queen of a legendary king of Ulster.

6 Daughter of Ábartach in the Fenian ballads, who was changed into a heron by her jealous rival Iuchra (2).

Subjects: Religion

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