Balgeeth Sheela-na-gig (Ardcath)
At a Glance
County Meath
OS Map 43
OS Coordinate O 052 627
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Balgeeth Sheela-na-gig, Co. Meath

Location: Approximately one kilometer from Ardcath village in the townland of Balgeeth. From Ardcath village travel west/southwest past the old churchyard and through the next intersection. The second farmhouse has a whitewashed stone wall topped by a hedgerow and with a lovely evergreen at the corner of the entrance to the house. The sheela is inside the gate on the right side, easily found as its dark color is in stark contrast to the whitewashed wall, though it cannot be seen from the road. The couple who lives here are very sweet about allowing inspection and photos of their treasure, but as always, please ask permission first. A lovely thatched cottage, also part of the farm, is next door.

Dimensions: approximately 8 inches x 15 inches

Features: This sweet little sheela has an oversized and very rounded head, small, evenly-set ears and large rounded eyes. The nose and mouth are nicely carved and the whole face appears very serene. The head sits directly on the shoulders, showing no neck. Her long thin arms pass in front of her body to splay the area of the vulva. There is no indication of ribs or facial scarring. The long thin legs terminate in proportional feet that point to the left.

Comments: The day we visited was quite overcast and so there was little contrast for taking photos. The woman who lives here suggested we use some of her grass to rub across the features to make them somewhat more visible. She said she used to do it herself for visitors when the sheela was first displayed, but is a bit superstitious of it now. Sheelas have a reputation in many circles as fertility figures and not long after she began rubbing this one, she became pregnant and gave birth to triplet boys. She told us this story as the young boys brought us handfuls of grass.

History: According to the present owners, it is unknown where this sheela originated. The farm was inherited by the present owner and his wife when the parents died. They had built a house further up the road which they sold when they inherited the 200+ year old farmhouse. In the course of repairing the wall, a post was knocked down and the sheela discovered, face in. It was mounted in the newly renovated wall.

Other Items of Interest: This sheela is less than five kilometers from Fourknocks and just four kilometers from N2 at R 152 when heading north to Duleek.

  © 2005-2006 F.J. & K.D. Schorr - All rights reserved.