Ballynacarriga : Sheela-na-Gig

Grid RefW 287 508
Longitude9° 1' 53.51" W
Latitude51° 42' 18.77" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownDunmanway (5.9 Km)
OS Sheets86, 89
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 13th April 2003

This was a bit of an opportunist stop really. The weather was awful and we were heading towards home and picking up a few sites along the way. The tower house itself is in fairly good condition, but not that spectacular. What is of great interest here is the Sheela-na-gig mounted high on the south wall, above and to the right of the main entrance.

The figure is extremely clear. She stands with her legs apart displaying a large haning vulva. Her right hand passes behind her right leg and grips one side of the vulva and the left hand passes in front of the left leg to grip the other side. Her stomach seems drawn as if she is emaciated, her facial feature are quite clear and she has one ear larger that the other.

The stone that she is carved on warrants further study. Some castle bourne sheelas seem to have been carved for that purpose, but this one definitely seems to have been moved from elsewhere. The righthand and bottom edges are straight and square, but the top and right hand side definitely seem to have been roughly cut. The brickwork around these uneven sides is not at all tidy - perhaps indicating that it was inserted after the castle was built.

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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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