The Sheela Na Gig

The name was first recorded in 1840 by John O’Donovan, an official of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, referring to a figure on a church in Kiltinane, County Tipperary; the name was also recorded in 1840 by John O’Donovan, an official of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, referring to a figure on a church in Kiltinane, County Tipperary. Because the name is not clearly translatable into Irish, there is debate about its origin and meaning. Sheila, Sle, and Sla are some of the alternative spellings of “Sheela.” Jack Roberts coined the name “Se├ín-Na-Gig” for the ithyphallic male counterpart of the Sheela, which is very uncommon in Ireland but far more prevalent on the continent. The Sheela Na Gig is a goddess of fertility.

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