'Ballyfinboy Castle' : Sheela-na-Gig

Grid RefR 899 936
GPSR 89874 93594 (11m)
Longitude8° 9' 2.94" W
Latitude52° 59' 34.89" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownPuckaun (9.1 Km)
OS Sheet53
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 29th August 2004

This happy looking Sheela-na-Gig is known locally as The Dancer and the best way to find her is to follow the signs for the Dancers Cottage B&B from Borrisokane. The carving is 4m above the ground on the southeast corner of the castle.

The ivy that smothers the corner of the castle seems to be kept clear of the figure, but on my visit it had started to creep back over the bottom edge. The figure is carved in false relief and is the sternest looking one I've seen yet. She seems to be staring out at you very angrily.

Her elbows are splayed out wide with her arms passing behind her legs to graps the vulva, which is slung in a very odd fashion below her groin. Her knees are splayed in a similar fashion to her arms and her feet point outwards. Her body is very plain.

I have read comments that she is considered to have be made for the castle, but I'm not so sure. The stone is of a different kind to the rest of the structure and the size of this quoin stone is bigger then the others.

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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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