Ballinderry : Sheela-na-Gig

Grid RefM 445 462
Longitude8° 50' 8.59" W
Latitude53° 27' 46.55" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownTaum (5.8 Km)
OS Sheet46
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 29th August 2004

This pretty little Sheela-na-Gig is carved on the keystone above the main door of a towerhouse that is currently under renovation. Ever since moving to Ireland I've always wanted to live in a towerhouse, but somehow don't think I'll ever get the chance.

This figure is accompanied, somewhat unusually, by a marigold, a bird and a rosette. She has two plaits of hair that project out horizontally from her head one of which is in a standard French plait and the other seems a more complicated knot pattern. The latter has a ring by the head which could be an ear or an earring. A bump below her right plait may be an ear.

Both hands pass in front of her body to indicate her groin, but there is no clear vulva. There is something between her played legs which, it has been suggested, may represent menstrual flow. Her navel is visible and she might have a left breast. There is no sign of the right one.

The carving is done in false relief, but most of the outer edge of the stone has been broken away.

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A Selection of Other Sheela-na-Gigs

About Coordinates Displayed

This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.

Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.

Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.

The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.

UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.

ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.

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