Balgeeth : Sheela-na-Gig

CountyMeath
Grid RefO 052 627
Longitude6° 24' 38.14" W
Latitude53° 36' 12.83" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownGarristown (4.5 Km)
OS Sheet43
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
Hide map  (N.B. Google Maps & GPS readings are slightly out of sync - position is approximate)
Show inline map (by Google Maps)

Visit Notes

Sunday, 13th July 2003

This Sheela is more commonly known as the Ardcath Sheela, but she is in fact in the townland of Balgeeth. She was discovered when a milk lorry destroyed a gatepost and exposed her. It was built into the pillar, facing in. I can only assume that at some point an over pious priest instructed the locals to destroy it and they hid her rather than risk any bad luck. However, there is no history of her, so we'll never know for sure.

The stone is now mounted in a wall of a farmyard.

There is some recent history though. The present farmer moved into the house when his father died. A year later the lady gave birth to triplets! This, naturally, got tongues wagging and the local press covered it quite extensively. Was it a pagan fertility goddess after all?

The figure is very well preserved, as you'd expect under the circumstances. She has both hands lowered and indicating the vulva, which is a very well defined slit. Her head is very rounded and there are no signs of facial 'scars' or her ribs.

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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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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