Aoife MacMurrough, Eva of Leinster

Aoife MacMurrough (1145–1188, Irish: Aoife Ní Diarmait), also known by later historians as Eva of Leinster, was the daughter of Dermot MacMurrough (Irish: Diarmait MacMurchada), King of Leinster, and his wife Mor O’Toole (c.1114-1191).

On the 29 August 1170, following the Norman invasion of Ireland that her father had requested, she married Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, better known as Strongbow, the leader of the Norman invasion force, in Reginald’s Tower in Waterford. She had been promised to Strongbow by her father who had visited England to ask for an invasion army. He was not allowed to give his daughter away, as under Early Irish Law Aoife had the choice of whom she married, but she had to agree to an arranged marriage.
Under Anglo-Norman law, this gave Strongbow succession rights to the Kingdom of Leinster. Under Irish Brehon law, the marriage gave her a life interest only, after which any land would normally revert to male cousins; but Brehon law also recognised a transfer of “swordland” following a conquest. Aoife conducted battles on behalf of her husband and is sometimes known as Red Eva (Irish: Aoife Rua). She had two sons and a daughter with her husband Richard de Clare, and within several generations her descendants included much of the nobility of northwestern Europe, including Robert the Bruce and Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall who was elected King of the Romans in 1257.
Aoife is the ancestress of many Kings of England by a number of lineal descent, such as that of her granddaughter Eva Marshal, whose daughter Maud de Braose, married Roger de Mortimer. All the monarchs of England from 1413, as well as Mary, Queen of Scots, were directly descended from Maud, as is the current British Royal Family. Queen consorts Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr were also notable descendants of Aoife through multiple lines. By her descendant, Lady Katherine Mortimer, who married Thomas de Beauchamp, 11th Earl of Warwick, Aoife and Strongbow were ancestors of the Earls of Warwick and the last of the Plantagenet kings which included Richard III of England and his wife, Lady Anne Neville.
Source: wiki
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2 thoughts on “Aoife MacMurrough, Eva of Leinster

  1. Hi CelticLady. “Aoife conducted battles on behalf of her husband and is sometimes known as Red Eva (Irish: Aoife Rua). She had two sons and a daughter” two statements for which I would love to see a reliable source. Most other sources that I have consulted mention only one son, Gilbert who died in 1185. As for her conducting battles, I have seen this stated elsewhere but can find nothing in any reliable account of the period. I am presently attempting to write a life of Aiofe and this kind of information, especially anything relating to her life in the 12 years between Strongbow’s death and her own would be very valuable. So far I have found nothing authoritative to help me.

  2. I am not a historian, obviously, the article was taken from Wiki as stated at the end of said article…I apologize if the article is incorrect but I only post what I find interesting, not that it is indeed correct. Thank you for pointing it out though!!

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