Looking for Sheelas

A search for the mysterious sheela-na-gigs.  These medeival icons of women bearing fierce expressions and holding open their labia, were often located above the doors to churches and high on castle walls, warding off the evil eye and other imminent dangers.  Hundreds of sheelas existed at one time in Ireland, predominantly in Tipperary and Anglo-Irish areas. The arrival of Christianity brought about the condemnation of such icons; many were destroyed or lost.  Several sheelas have been rediscovered in recent times and have been placed in the protection of the National Museum, most of which remain locked in darkness.

20 minutes

Interview with Katie Donovan
Interview with Mary McAuliffe

Video clip (choose quicktime or realplayer)
Audio clip (choose quicktime or realplayer)

For more info about the sheela-na-gigs, see the history section of the links page.