1Wood-Martin, W. G. Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland. Vol. 1. London: Longmans, Green, & Co. 1902. 323.
The author continues: "It was also a great resort of cripples; a regular array of sticks and crutches was deposited on the tumulus by professional mendicants who pretended to have been cured in order to enhance the reputation of the place, as large crowds upon patron days brought considerable sums into their pockets." This may be read in its entirely here.

2O'Kelly, Michael J. "St Gobnet's House, Ballyvourney, Co. Cork." Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society 57 (1952): 18.
The author states that the many "furnace bottoms" found at the site are lumps of porous, slag-like material, much heavier than the ordinary glassy slag usually found. They form from the hot debris of smelting which falls into and fills the bottom of the furnace. The 57 complete examples from Ballyvourney varied in diameter from 31" to 7". The number from Ballyvourney by far exceeds those recorded from elsewhere.
The excavation revealed numerous post-holes from the primary occupations; the second occupation phase saw the construction of a large circular stone structure, today known as St. Gobnet's House, with a central post-hole likely supporting a thatch roof.
A glass bead found from the first occupation level is of a type identified with the Roman or Viking periods. None of these objects could be firmly date, since they all were types from the first millennium CE.
In 1750 what is now known as St. Gobnet's house was described as "a circle of stones about two feet high and about nine feet in diameter, which seems to be the foundation of one of the small round towers placed in churchyards."(Smith, Charles. The Ancient and Present State of the County of Cork. Containing a Natural, Civil, Ecclesiastical, Historical and Topographical Description Thereof. Dublin: Printed for the Author, 1750. 193.)

3The structure is also known as "St. Gobnait's Kitchen." The Irish Tigh Ghobnatan translates to "Gobnait's House," but it may be intended to mean "Gobnait's Church." (Meehan, Cary. The Traveller's Guide to Sacred Ireland: A Guide to the Sacred Places of Ireland, Her Legends, Folklore and People. Glastonbury: Gothic Image, 2004. 537-40.) Goibniu is, in legend, the smith of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Ronald Hutton compares Ballyvourney's pre-Christian association in Celtic myth to that of St. Brighid ("almost certainly a goddess"). A reputed pagan "fire temple" near Kildare's round tower may be a remnant of her devotion. (Hutton, Ronald. The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy. Oxford, UK: B. Blackwell, 1991.285.)

4Edith Guest noted in a 1937 journal article: "In the neighbourhood of the mound was once a small stone cross, which had disappeared by the middle of the nineteenth century. Here the image of St. Gobonet used to be set up on 11th February, and on Whit Monday, when the faithful went round it on their knees and tied handkerchiefs about its neck as a preventive of disease. This practice still went on in the eighteenth century, though forbidden by the Bishop of Cloyne." (Guest, Edith M. "Ballyvourney and Its Sheela-na-gig." Folklore 48.4 (1937): 374-84.) Guest also wrote: "A few fields away, "Saint Gobonet's Stone" still stands. It is 4.5 feet high and on the south face is a Greek cross within a circle of two lines. Above the circle stands the Saint in a long cloak and carrying the Irish pastoral crook in its most primitive form (Fig. 6). On the upper edge of the stone are three hollows, said to have been made by the elbows and chin of the Saint as she leant upon it. We may prefer to think them libation hollows of an earlier cult. At any rate the stone had the reputation, like any pagan menhir, of bringing disaster on whoever tried to move it. Once a heretic, described as a " protestant," or alternatively, a "Scotchman," tried to drag it away by horses: within three months he and his horses were dead." This stone may be seen here. The St. Gobnait's Turas Stations: 1. At the saint's statue; 2. St. Gobnait's House; 3. and 4. Two cross-inscribed stones at St. Gobnait's Grave; 5. the northwest corner of the church ruins, an older foundation stone; 6. window of the east wall, the site of the old altar; 7. the sheela-na-gig; 8. outside of the south wall; 9. south side of the west wall (St. Gobnait's Bowl); 10. St. Abbán's Holy Well.

5This well, now called St. Gobnait's Well, was discovered during the excavation of St. Gobnait's House in 1951. It was determined to date from the Early Christian secondary use of the site, when the round house was constructed.

6"The Family of Lucey in 14th Century Ireland - Published by Norman Lucey." Web. 11 Nov. 2012. <http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rickmansworthherts/webpage65.htm>.

7In Irish tradition, St. Abbán provided Gobnait with the land for her monastery. More info.

8O'Kelly 36.

9Wood-Martin 228.
Another version of this story features the beehive turning into a bronze helmet, and that the O'Herlihys kept the bronze helmet as a source of protection. "M.T. Kelly, writing in the JCHAS , Vol.III No. 25. (1897), p.102 , suggests that Windele had come across accounts of this helmet but that it had been lost somewhere in Kerry. Another version has the beehive turning into a bell which then became Gobnait's bell." ("St Gobnait." Diocese of Kerry. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. <http://www.dioceseofkerry.ie/page/heritage/saints/st_gobnait/>.)
In his Lives of the Irish Saints, O'Hanlon wrote of the battle, "She is said to have held in her hand, at the time, a square box, or beehive, full of holes at the sides. These were so formed that a bee flying, could go in and out through them. This instrument has been called, in Gaelic, the beachaire, i.e., " something to hold bees." It is supposed to have been soft and elastic. St. Gobnet prayed for some moments, when she saw the invader making towards her. After this, the bees flew out of their hive, and effectually stayed the ravages of the haughty chief." (O'Hanlon, John. Lives of the Irish Saints. Vol. 2. Dublin: Duffy, 1875. 464. Quoted in Harris, Dorothy C. "Saint Gobnet; Abbess of Ballyvourney." The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 8.2 (1938): 275.)
Another story of the saint is recounted in a guidebook. It concerns "a robber who arrived in the area and tried to erect a pagan shrine here. Gobnait threw her bowl which demolished it. The bowl is now attached to the west wall of the church and a tradition has grown up of touching it with a personal item for healing [as part of the turas, at the west wall of the old church]. (Meehan, Cary. The Traveller's Guide to Sacred Ireland: A Guide to the Sacred Places of Ireland, Her Legends, Folklore and People. Glastonbury: Gothic Image, 2004. 537-40.)
Edith Guest further describes this ritual: "Next, the west wall of the church is reached, and here is a small square niche into which the devotee passes his arm almost to its full length. At the extremity he feels a smooth round object and touches it three times: it is Saint Gobonet's Bowl, and each time he transfers its virtue to himself by crossing himself with the same hand that felt it. Once this object was loose and handed about for its virtues, but the priests thought it led to undesirable practices, and imprisoned it where it now is. The legend attached to this bowl is as follows: A neighbouring chief wished to build a castle close to the Abbey. The Saint made her objection practical by throwing her stone bowl each night at the walls, whereupon what had been built during the day fell down. Since then the bowl has been efficacious for the cure of contusions. (Guest, Edith M. "Ballyvourney and Its Sheela-na-gig." Folklore 48.4 (1937): 374-84.)

10Couch, Victor, MD. "The Ancestors of Evelyn Herlihy." History of the Herlihys. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. <http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~maggiesirishkin/herlhist1.html>.
"In recognition of her saintly impact, Pope Clement VIII in 1601 granted 'a special indulgence of ten years and quarantines to the faithful who would visit the Church of St Gobnait in the Parish of Ballyvourney in the Diocese of Cloyne on her feast day and would pray for peace amongst Christian princes, for the expulsion of heresy and the exaltation of Holy Mother Church.'"
According to Maureen Concannon, "The first convents of the Celtic Christians were run by abbesses, but even at that early date it was recorded that the nuns at Ballyvourney lost their autonomy when a priest was assigned to be chaplain and Gobnait was made subordinate to him." (Concannon, Maureen. The Sacred Whore: Sheela, Goddess of the Celts. Cork: Collins, 2004. 36-8.)

11February 11 coincides with the Celtic festival of Imbolc, using the Old Style Julian calendar.

12"Ireland's Saintly Women and Their Healing Holy Wells." National Geographic News Watch. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. <http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/02/10/irelands-saintly-women-and-their-healing-holy-wells/>.
A visitor described the 2011 procession on St. Gobnait's feast day of February 11: "…the landscape at once vibrates with the clicking of rosary beads and the murmur of voices repeating familiar and comforting words. The sounds coalesce like the steady and intent hum of St Gobnait's bees."
The stations of the turas are always circled in a clockwise directions. It would be considered both unlucky and blasphemous to walk around the stations counter-clockwise; this could bring ill-fortune on the pilgrim or his family.(Geoghegan, Siofra. "Gobnait: Woman of the Bees." Matrifocus: Cross-Quarterly for the Goddess Woman. Imbolc, 2005. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. <http://www.matrifocus.com/IMB05/ireland-gobnait.htm>.)

13Harbison, Peter. Pilgrimage in Ireland: the Monuments and the People. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Univ., 1992. 133-35.
According to a website published by the Diocese of Kerry, the parish of Dunquin on the Dingle Peninsula also has a traditional turas on February 11, St. Gobnait's feast day. At one time, there was also a secular fair held on the date, "Tradition records that people came from the surrounding parishes and from the Blaskets to the pattern. Micheál Ó Gaoithín recorded that there was formerly a fair on the Pattern day and that the drinking and selling went on for three days but that this finally ended due to clerical opposition. Ó Gaoithín also tells us that one PP was very strongly opposed to the Pattern, this upset the locals who argued with him, he cursed the people of Dunquin and they responded by throwing him over a cliff!" ("St Gobnait." Diocese of Kerry. Web. 12 Nov. 2012. <http://www.dioceseofkerry.ie/page/heritage/saints/st_gobnait/>.)

14A sign posted in several places along the route of the procession (turas) instructs the pilgrim:

  1. Stations are marked No. 1 - No. 10.
  2. Stations No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 - you go to these stations twice (2), Station No. 5, you go to this station four (4) times. Stations No. 6, 7, 8 and 9, you go to these stations only once.
  3. When finished with station No. 9, proceed to station No. 10 which is the Holy Well. This is where the signs shows (Holy Well) on the roadway as you approached.
  4. The Prayers recited at each station are seven (7) Our Fathers, seven (7) Holy Marys and seven (7) Glorys.
  5. Stations No. 1 to 4 when walking around the mound say (I believe in God.). When you commence on No. 5 and when walking around the old ruin you say one decad of the rosary each time you go around.
  6. When finished with No. 9 you proceed to the Holy Well then say the fifth decad of the rosary.

A mid-nineteenth century observer noted three trees growing inside St. Gobnait's House which were stripped of their bark every year "for purposes best known to the people." The trees are now gone (as might be expected) and this practice is largely forgotten. (Windele, John. Topography Co. Cork, W and N.E. 1830s-50s. MS 12I10. Royal Irish Academy, 164-68. Quoted in Guest, Edith M. "Ballyvourney and Its Sheela-na-gig." Folklore 48.4 (1937): 376.)

Harbison quotes from an 1861article describing the Bacachs at Ballyvourney: "Ardmore, Gougane Barra, Lough Dearg, Shruel, Croagh Patrick, and other places of pilgrimage, are the resorts of the Bacach tribe; but Ballyvourney would appear to have been their 'Fakeerabad.' There dwelt the professors. What the precise course of studies might have been, is easier to imagine than to ascertain: they might have comprised instructions as to habits, rules of conduct, and secrecy; but there was one qualification which the ordinary observer could not fail to perceive, and which appears to have been the leading performance of their lives, this was the crónawn or beggar's chaunt. As the traveller passed through the village of Ballyvourney, he heard from the interior of many houses various repetitions of this strange Oriental-sounding appeal. When the aspirant had acquired a proficiency in all the requisite qualifications, he received his diploma in the shape of a goodly black thorn stick, at the upper end of which were conspicuous a certain number of brass nails: to a thorough proficient, the highest number of nails was given, which was seven; and the great virtue of these nails lay in the supposed fact that each nail indicated the efficacy of the prayers of the professor, which was increased in such ratio, that one prayer of the Bacach with a seven-nailed staff was as efficacious as sixty four prayers from one of the single nail." (Hackett, William, 'The Irish Bacach, or professional beggar, viewed archaeologically,' Ulster Journal of Archaeology 9, 1861-2. 256-71.)

16Harris, Dorothy C. "Saint Gobnet; Abbess of Ballyvourney." The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 8.2 (1938): 273-75.
A carved head, known as the "Black Thief,' is likely the voussoir or keystone from an earlier Romanesque structure. It is installed at the top of the arch leading to the high altar inside the ruined mid-sixteenth century medieval church. This may be noted in the VR tour by rotating the view upwards while inside the church, or seen in more detail here. Local lore says this is a workman who stole his co-worker's tools. His face was carved in stone to as a punishment. (O'Kelly 36.)

17Richardson, John, Johann Theodor Jablonski, and John Chamberlayne. The Great Folly, Superstition, and Idolatry, of Pilgrimages in Ireland; Especially of That to St. Patrick's Purgatory. Together with an Account of the Loss That the Publick Sustaineth Thereby; Truly and Impartially Represented. Dublin: Printed by J. Hyde, and Sold by J. Leathley, 1727. 71.
This text may be read in its entirely here.

According to Maureen Concannon, "Women who are unable to conceive rub the genital area of the carving, taking rubbings of the stone in their handkerchiefs and drink them in water." (Concannon, Maureen. The Sacred Whore: Sheela, Goddess of the Celts. Cork: Collins, 2004. 36-8.)

19Weir, Anthony, and James Jerman. Images of Lust: Sexual Carvings on Medieval Churches. London: B.T. Batsford, 1986. 21.
The authors maintain that "folkloric practices are posterior to the importation of the motifs, and that the important moralising tone of the carvings led not only to the preservation of sheelas but also to a popular misconception that they held magical properties." Barbara Freitag, on the other hand, believes that the sheela-na-gig originates within a folk tradition. (Freitag, Barbara. Sheela-Na-Gigs Unraveling an Enigma. New York: Routledge, 2004. 119.) Weir and Jerman are careful to describe the sheela-na-gig as a sexual, but not an erotic, sculpture, as its grotesque and repulsive nature cannot said to be sexually arousing (p. 11-12).
More than 100 sheela-na-gig figures have been noted in Ireland. (Cherry, Stella. A Guide to Sheela-Na-Gigs. Dublin: National Museum of Ireland, 1992.) The listing from the text is excerpted here.

20Thomas O'Connor, Neagh, 3 October 1840; in John O'Donovan, Letters containing information relative to the Antiquities of the County of Tipperary Collected during the progress of the Ordnance Survey in 1840. RIA Dublin, handwritten MS. Quoted in Freitag, Barbara. Sheela-Na-Gigs Unraveling an Enigma. New York: Routledge, 2004. 16-17.
O'Connor thought the figure may have had a pagan origin, since if it had been carved during Christian times "it would owe its origin to the wantonness of some loose mind." Freitag writes, "The lengthy letter which he sent to Dublin is a charming testimony to his baffled confusion. O'Conor admits to being completely mystified as to why this 'ill excuted [sic] piece of sculpture', rudely done by an unskillful artist, should be placed at a house of public worship when it so blatantly impresses the 'grossest idea of immorality and licentiousness ... being in its way in direct opposition to the sentiment of . . . people professing the Christian faith'. As it seemed incongruous that the figure had been set up in its present situation for producing any good effect on the minds of a Christian congregation, he could only assume that it was never intended to be placed in the church. He speculated that it must have belonged originally to another building, a castle perhaps, and that it was laid in its present situation 'by some one [sic] who delighted in inconsistencies' after the church had been abandoned as a place of worship. If that were not the case, the figure owed its origin 'to the wantonness of some loose mind.'"
Sadly, the sheela-na-gig O'Connor describes, at Kiltinane Church, Co. Tipperary, was stolen in 1990. A photograph of the sculpture may be seen here.

21In her Guide, Stella Cherry lists the Ballyvourney figure as "probably a Sheela-na-gig." (Cherry, Stella. A Guide to Sheela-Na-Gigs. Dublin: National Museum of Ireland, 1992. 4-10.)
Lewis' Topographical Dictionary in 1837 noted "The ruins of the church are very extensive and interesting; in one of the walls is a head carved in stone, which is regarded with much veneration." (Lewis, Samuel. A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland‬: ‪Comprising the Several Counties, Cities, Boroughs, Corporate, Market, and Post Towns, Parishes, and Villages, with Historical and Statistical Descriptions..., Volume 1. London: Clearfield, 1837. 169.)
A journal article in 1935 described the sculpture as "A small figure known as St. Gobonet, cut in an ovoid depression on a rough lintel over a trefoil window at the east end of the south wall. It shows no definite features of a sheela-na-gig except the pose of the arms, but it seems to be connected with rites of very ancient origin." (Guest, Edith M. "Irish Sheela-na-Gigs in 1935." The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 6.1 (1936): 110.)
According to Maureen Concannon, "The presence of all three aspects of the goddess at Ballyvourney - Sheela, Madonna and Hag - makes it the only centre in Ireland and perhaps of all the places where the Sheela now remains, to have preserved the tripartite aspects of the goddess - maiden, mother and crone." (Concannon, Maureen. The Sacred Whore: Sheela, Goddess of the Celts. Cork: Collins, 2004. 36-8.)

22Andersen, Jørgen. The Witch on the Wall: Medieval Erotic Sculpture in the British Isles. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde and Bagger, 1977. 14+.
Anderson considers the sheela-na-gig carvings to be Romanesque (c. 1100 CE). Maureen Concannon disagrees, and entertains the possibility that the carvings pre-date the structures on which they are mounted: "Many of the carvings on those buildings are noticeably more worn than the rest of the stone work, indicating that they were probably transferred from the earlier structures to the later churches. This would be in accord with the veneration in which the people would have held those sacred stones and points once again to the conservatism of the country people of Ireland." (Concannon, Maureen. The Sacred Whore: Sheela, Goddess of the Celts. Cork: Collins, 2004. 61-2.)
Thomas Wright (The Worship of the Generative Powers, 1866) wrote that sheela-na-gigs were survivals of a pre-Christian fertility worship. In some ways, the effort to see the sheela-na-gigs as a remnant of pre-Christian Ireland has a parallel in the views, promoted in 1833 by Henry O'Brien, to claim the Irish round towers as the creations of prehistoric Tuatha Dé Danann for their phallic-worshiping religion. See our entry on the Kildare Round Tower. (Leerssen, Joep. Remembrance and Imagination: Patterns in the Historical and Literary Representation of Ireland in the Nineteenth Century. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame in Association with Field Day, 1997. 120.)

23Concannon, Maureen. The Sacred Whore: Sheela, Goddess of the Celts. Cork: Collins, 2004. 17.
The author adds: "Tracing the Sheela may unravel the spirituality of those of our ancestors who predate the Indo-European by many thousands of years."
In the 1930s Margaret Murray (The God of the Witches) opined that the sculpture generally belonged in the category of mother-goddesses. In 1923 she first wrote that the figures might be the remains of an old fertility cult. (Freitag, Barbara. Sheela-Na-Gigs Unraveling an Enigma. New York: Routledge, 2004. 28.

24Andersen 47+.
The author balances his purely architectural explanation with this statement: "Certainly there is more to the image than the mere display of pudenda; something darkly colouring that medieval carver's conception. There is some foundation here for involving mythology in the study of sheelas and in their whole application to churches." (p. 111)
A journal article in 1840 suggests that "some [sheela-na-gigs] had been originally used as grave-stones, and probably intended to act as charms to avert the evil eye, or its influence, from the place." (Clibborn, E., Esq. "On an Ancient Stone Image Presented to the Academy by Charles Halpin, M.D." Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 2 (1840-1844): 566.)
Anne Ross wrote, "I would like to suggest that, in their earliest iconographic form they do in fact portray the territorial or war-goddess in her hag-like aspect, with all the strongly sexual characteristics which accompany this guise in the tales; and that they are not 'pornographic' or 'erotic' monuments but have both a fertility and an evil-averting significance. [note: It is a well known and widespread belief that to expose the genitalia of either sex acts as a powerful apotropaic gesture]. This would serve to explain why they are frequently to be found in association with Christian churches. Such figures could hardly have been built into religious buildings of the post-pagan period unless it was to canalise the evil-averting powers they were believed to possess. If they were found on the site of the church their powers could then be used for the benefit of Christians, once they had been purified as it were by Christian rites; and any latent paganism in the area would find a double satisfaction both in the continuing homage offered to this once-powerful deity and in her inclusion in the wider Christian pantheon as a still-vital protectress of the ground over which she was once sovereign." (Ross, Anne. "The Divine Hag of the Pagan Celts." in The Witch Figure, Venetia Newall, ed. London and Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978. 148-49.)

25Freitag, Barbara. Sheela-Na-Gigs Unraveling an Enigma. New York: Routledge, 2004. 43.
The entire list presented by the author is: "...musicians, jugglers, barrel-lifters, misers, tongue-protruders, thorn-pullers, beard-pullers, mermaids, anus-showers, penis-swallowers, exhibiting men, women and devils, megaphallic animals, fomme aux serpens, men and women combating ghoulish creatures, man-eating monsters, grotesquely copulating couples, as well as almost any combination of the foregoing."

26Weir, Anthony, and James Jerman. Images of Lust: Sexual Carvings on Medieval Churches. London: B.T. Batsford, 1986. 151.
If the authors present a credo, it would be: "Sexual exhibitionists developed, like so many other Romanesque motifs, from Classical prototypes at a date not earlier, so far as we have been able to ascertain, than the eleventh century, and that their flourit was during the twelfth century; that they are Christian carvings, part of an iconography aimed at castigating the sins of the flesh, and that in this they were only one element in the attack on lust, luxury and fornication; that their horrible appearance is due to the fact that they portrayed evil in the battle against evil; that, in this role of warring against Luxuria and Concupiscentia, two of the Mortal Sins, they flourished in the sculpture of a well-defined area of western France and northern Spain; that they reached the British Isles by a process we shall describe; that they were supported by a number of carvings which at first sight seem to be unconnected with them, and which are better understood when the connection has been made, and that it is possible that the apotropaic purpose sometimes attributed to them is a later development, stemming from the forcefulness of their imagery and the respect with which they were regarded."

The complete list of quotations presented in the book:

"That carving, Sir? Why, that's the last man (sic) to be hanged on Hangman's Hill.
Sexton of Holdgate Church, verbatim, to Colin and Janet Bord, 1980

The majority of sheela-na-gigs were apparently either warnings of immoral behaviour, or Schandbilder, denouncing local women of iII- repute.
Ellen Ettlinger, FOLKLORE 1974

Sheela-na-gig: an obscene female figure of uncertain significance.
Lord Killanin and M.V. Duignan, Shell Guide to Ireland 1967

SheeIa-na-gig: the Irish Goddess of Creation. Barry Cunliffe, The Celtic World 1979

Probably the remains of a fertility cult. Margaret Murray, MAN 1923

Sheela-na-gig: the actual representation of the Great Goddess Earth Mother on English soil.
Brian Branston, The Lost Gods of England 1974

The portrayal of the Celtic goddess of creation and destruction, the sheela-na-gig at Kilpeck offers wordless instruction in the art of self-delivery.
S.C. Stanford, Archaeology of the Welsh Marches, 1980

Sheila-na-gig: fertility figure, usually with legs wide open.
N. Pevsner, Buildings of England, glossary (various dates)

(Sheela-na-gigs) portray the territorial or war- goddess in her hag-like aspect.
Ann Ross, Divine Hag of the Pagan Celts, ed. Newall 1973

Sheela-na-gig: female exhibitionist figure, one of the many representations of Lust in Romansque carving.
A. Weir, Early Ireland, a Field Guide 1980

The defensive nature of the exposed vulva is even clearer in Ireland in the Sheila-na-gig representations of women exposing themselves.
Encyclopedia of World Art, 1966

27Andersen 145.

28Weir 15.
According to Anthony Weir, "The' gigg/jig' word (like 'crack' or, falsely, 'craic') does definitely seem to be English in origin, and, curiously, West African coastal people retained the word jig-a-jig for sexual intercourse; little brass [copulating] figures, now sold to tourists, are/were also called jig-a-jigs. This would suggest, as Barbara Freitag said, a 16th century origin for the word." (Weir, Anthony. "Ballyvourney and Its Sheela." Message to the author. 11 Nov. 2012. E-mail.)

29Zucchelli, Christine. Stones of Adoration Sacred Stones and Mystic Megaliths of Ireland. Doughcloyne, Wilton, Cork: Collins, 2007. 130.
Wikipedia notes other uses of the name: "A ship called Sheela Na Gig in the Royal Navy and a dance called the Sheela na gig from the 18th century. An Irish slip jig, first published as The Irish Pot Stick (c.1758), appears as Shilling a Gig, in Brysson's A Curious Collection of Favourite Tunes (1791) and Sheela na Gigg in Hime's 48 Original Irish Dances (c.1795). These are the oldest recorded references to the name, but do not apply to the figures. The name is explained in the Royal Navy's records as an "Irish female sprite"" " ("Sheela Na Gig." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 July 2012. Web. 10 Nov. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheela_na_gig>.)

30Freitag 54.

31Concannon 158-65.
Concannon also wrote: "The mockery, destruction and eradication of feminine symbols was documented and celebrated by the Christian hierarchy. The loss of those symbols paralleled the slow erosion of essential feminine values, such as responsibility for life and the preservation of it, the care and nurture of the child, the family and the clan. This was a gradual process and hardly recognised at the time. The image of the Sheela, a symbol of the Divine Hag, had to be excised from the consciousness of the Irish people. Like all the other symbols associated with women and the feminine aspect of God throughout the western world, she was a threat to the authority of the Roman Church and must be eliminated." (p. 114)

32Keeling, David. "An Unrecorded Exhibitionist Figure (Sheela-na-Gig) from Ardcath, County Meath." Ríocht Na Midhe (Records of the Meath Archaeological and Historical Society) VII.3 (1984): 102-04.
This figure is also known as the Ardcath Sheela after the nearby village. The author describes it: "The figure fills the frame formed by the cut edge of the stone, and although considerably weathered, on closer examination most of the detail is still discernible. The legs are slightly bent and face in the same direction, although the left foot is missing, presumably due to weathering. The arms hang symmetrically across the body and rest on the thighs to touch or indicate the pudenda. The hands have a faint suggestion of fingers. The bent elbows are prominent and the similarity in the position of the arms being mainly responsible for the symmetry. The breasts are only slightly suggested. The figure has a large flat and pear-shaped head with a short neck; the eyes, nose and mouth are prominent. A shallow depression at the left side of the head is probably due to weathering."
Many thanks to Michael Fox for leading us to this site.

33Heaney, Seamus. Station Island. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1985. 49-50.
The sheela-na-gig at Kilpeck (in England) may be seen here.