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
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
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.