Aisling: pronunciation and meaning, explained

From famous Irish celebrities who share the name to its pronunciation, meaning, and history, here is everything you need to know about the beautiful Irish name Aisling.

Today, we’ll be taking a deep dive into one of the most enduring Gaelic feminine names in recent years. As one of the most beautiful Irish baby girl names, Aisling has gained huge popularity in recent years.

From being the name of a famous Irish actress to the Head of Commissioning at BBC England, this name of Irish heritage has skyrocketed in popularity.

Know any Aislings who want to find out a bit more about their name? Send this their way!

Pronunciations and spelling – you may not get it right the first time

Irish name Aisling.
Credit: Instagram / @weemissbea

Anyone fortunate enough to call this beautiful Irish name their own will most likely have experienced some confused looks in their time, especially while travelling abroad.

No matter how hard they try, it seems like some people just can’t wrap their heads around the pronunciation or spelling of Aisling. And the chances of any Starbucks employee spelling it correctly on your takeaway coffee cup are next to none.

To make matters even more confusing, there are a lot of variations of this name.

Many Gaelic Irish names have gone through a process of anglicisation, and Aisling is no exception. You may come across an Ashling, Aislin, Aislinn, Aislene, Ashlyn, or Ashlynn anywhere in the world.

Pronunciation of the name also varies, but the most common pronunciation is ‘ASH-ling’. Other forms acceptable to Irish speakers are ‘ASH-lin’ and ‘ASH-leen’.

And just to be extra wacky, others such as ‘AYZ-ling’, ‘ASS-ling’, and ‘AYSS-ling’, which do not follow the Gaelic pronunciation, are also common.

Meaning and history – it’s not as old as you think

The meaning and history of the Irish name Aisling.
Credit: / @andreas160578

Aisling is a female given name from the Irish language meaning ‘dream’ or ‘vision’.

Despite the enormous popularity of the name in Ireland and beyond, this wasn’t always the case. Aisling did not appear as a given name until the 20th-century. The name originates from an Irish language poetic genre that developed during the 17th-and 18th-centuries.

The usual set-up of these poems is as follows: Ireland appears to the poet in a vision in the form of a woman, sometimes she’s young and attractive, and other times she appears as a crone.

Generally referred to in the poems as a ‘Spéirbhean’ (meaning ‘heavenly woman’), this character reflects on the current state of the Irish people and predicts that their luck will soon turn around.

This luck will usually be linked to the return of the Roman Catholic House of Stuart to the thrones of Britain and Ireland.

The name has proven popular in the United States.

Aisling has seen a massive surge in popularity across the Emerald Isle in the last few decades. It bagged the title of the thirty-first most popular name for newborn baby girls in Ireland in 2005.

One of its many variations, Ashlyn has proved popular in the United States. The name ranked 140th on the list of most popular girls names in the United States in 2006, while another variant, Ashlynn, came in at 293 in the U.S. that same year.

Ashlyn is also regarded as a modern name derived from Ashley and Lynn, two incredibly popular names in their own right.

Famous people named Aisling – do you recognise any of them?

Irish actress Aisling Bea.
Credit: Instagram / @weemissbea

The Irish are a talented bunch, and there’s a fair share of Aislings out there who have made it big!

The name’s biggest claim to fame is probably Aisling O’Sullivan. Better known as Aisling Bea, she is an Irish actress, writer, and comedian. Her stand-up performances are a must-watch. She tackles some pretty important contemporary Irish issues – like the fact that Irish flirting can be a little… unusual.

Aisling Franciosi is an Irish-Italian actress. She is best known for playing the part of Katie Benedetto in the RTÉ-BBC Two crime drama television series The Fall. She’s also known for playing Lyanna Stark in HBO’s popular fantasy drama Game of Thrones.

Aisling O’Neill is a recognisable face from Ireland’s national soap Fair City. She has portrayed Carol Foley for more than two decades. This is a role that’s earned her an IFTA nomination for Best Female Performance in a Soap or Comedy.

Aisling Daly is a retired Irish female professional mixed martial artist who last competed in the UFC women’s strawweight division. Daly had been a professional MMA competitor since 2007.

Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling.
Credit: @SarahJayBee / Twitter

African-American actress Aisling Sistrunkis is another well-known figure with this Irish name. She is best known for her role as Melanie Parker on My Brother and Me.

Other famous Aislings include English actress Aisling Loftus and Irish Olympic swimmer Aisling Cooney. Irish singer Aisling Jarvis, BBC Head of Commissioning Aisling O’Connor, and Irish screenwriter Aisling Walsh are other well-known Aislings.

There are even fictional Aislings. Aisling Grey of the literary series by Kate MacAlister is one. Joining her is Aisling of Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen. And finally, Endgame’s Aisling Kopp.

FAQs about the Irish name Aisling

What is the nickname for Aisling?

People called Aisling may get the nickname Ash or Ashy/Ashie.

Is Aisling a common name in Ireland?

In 2020, Aisling ranked 138th most common girl name in Ireland.

How do you pronounce Aisling in English?

The most common English and Irish pronunciation is Ash-ling. For this reason, some parents opt for the phonetic spelling and call their baby girls Ashling.

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