This article is from the Enya FAQ, by Kevin Martin firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
To spell Irish names properly requires diacritical or "accent" marks which
do not always display properly in a Usenet posting. I am going to include
them in this section for the sake of correctness, but will try to do without
them in the rest of the FAQ.
"Enya" is a phonetic spelling of the Irish name Eithne, a name that comes
from ancient legend. [Appendix 1]
Eithne's maternal grandparents' last name was Ó Dugáin (Duggan) and, of
course, this is also the last name of their children Pádraig, Noel and
Máire (Eithne's mother, also known as Baba). When Baba married Leo Ó
Braonáin (Leo Brennan), her last name became Uí Bhraonáin and their
children's last names were, in consequence, also Ó Braonáin for the boys,
or Ní Bhraonáin for the girls.
The Brennans played in a dance band before settling down. Her father Leo
ran a local pub, Leo's Tavern in Min na Leice (Meenalech), and her mother
Baba taught music in the local school. They settled in the small village
of Dobhar (Dore, in English) in the Gaoth Dobhair (Gweedore) region of
County Donegal in the northwest of the Republic of Ireland.
Eithne was born on May 17th 1961, one of nine children: Máire, Ciarán, Pól,
Deirdre, Leon, Eithne, Bartley, Olive, and Bridin. We don't know what time
of day she was born; the question has been asked, but her mother doesn't
recall or won't say. (Yes, her grandmother, mother, and oldest sister are
all named Máire.)
Eithne now lives in Killiney, a coastal district on the southern outskirts
of Dublin, and in London.