The lovey Aoibheall was a queen of the Sídhe, the fairy folk of Irish mythology. Her domain is the County of Clare, and her dwelling place is in the rocks at Craglea. She is the fairy guardian of the ancient O’Brien family.
Aoibheall possessed a golden harp, who’s music heralded the demise of anyone who heard it. The night before the Battle of Clontarf, King Brian Boru heard the music of Aoibheall’s harp and knew that he would meet his end. The following day he led his men to victory against the Vikings, but sure enough did not survive the battle himself.
Aoibheall appears in the poem ‘Cúirt An Mheán Oíche’ as the judge in a traditional Brehon Court. She hears the complaints of a group of women who claim that all men are mistreating women by taking them for granted and not getting married. She decrees that all men must marry by the age of 21 or face reprisal from women.
Aoibheall’s rivalry with her sister Clíodhna is famous. It is said that the two fell in love with the same man, At one point the rivalry that this caused between them was so strong that Clíodhna put a spell on Aoibheall and turned her into a white cat. Though Aoibheall is not believed to be a member of the Tuatha Dè Danann, it is possible that she once was. We know that her sister Cliodhna’s father was a druid of Manannán Mac Lír, the god of the sea. Therefore if Aoibheall shared her father with Clíodhna she had a direct link to the Tuatha Dé Danann.