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County Clare
OS Map 58
OS Coordinate R 449 609
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Bunratty, Co. Clare

Location: In a niche in the south wall of the Great Hall of Bunratty Castle. Bunratty is located about seven kilometers east of Shannon airport. Take the N 19 spur from the airport to N 18 south. Follow the signs to Bunratty castle and Folk Park. There is ample parking throughout the area.

Dimensions: The sheela is 22 cm high by 20 cm wide.

Features: Unfortunately painted over in black to make it stand out more from the whitewashed wall, Carved on a larger rectancular block of stone, this sheela has a rounded triangular head sitting on a thin straight neck, deep set eyes and an indication of a nose. Her grimacing mouth shows gritted teeth. She has rounded pendulous breasts. No evidence of ribs are seen. Well proportioned arms circle down behind her thighs to pull open the sides of her vulva. Her legs are widely splayed bending at right angles at both the thighs and knees and ending in truncated feet.

Comments: This little sheela isn't hard to find, standing out as she does against the stark white walls. She is low set above a bench in the window niche. Another stone carving is mounted into the wall to the right of the sheela, also painted black. Above these is a large wood carving. There is a charge to enter the Castle and Folk Park.

History: When the castle was restored in the mid-20th century, the sheela was transferred to the Great Hall from an inner window reveal in a top room of the southwest tower.

Other Items of Interest: Bunratty Castle is far more interesting than I expected it to be. The Folk Park has some lovely examples of both country and town dwellings from the 19th century from various social strata - from quite poor to the well off.

  © 2005-06 F.J. & K.D. Schorr - All rights reserved.