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Cloonlara Sheela-na-Gig
 

County

Clare

Coordinates

N 52° 43' 21.12"   W 008° 33' 02.34"

Nearest town

Castleconnell

Grid Ref.

R 62802 63636

Map No.

58

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

27

Date of visit

Sunday 19 June 2016

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The slab with the figure is in the northeast parapet of this bridge.


This slab is inserted in the northeast parapet of the Old Canal Bridge at Cloonlara. Apparently it was moved to this new location from an unknown original building in 1769, when the bridge was built.
Another version of the story is that during the construction of the bridge a She-Ghost was haunting the canal, so this slab was inserted in the masonry to scare her off.
The slab is locally known as the "Ghost Slab", it measures 53 centimetres of width and 65.5 centimetres of height. The lowest edge of the slab stands at only 10 centimetres from the road surface.
The effigy has been carved on the slab's surface and is very worn. In the past it had also been defaced by someone who didn't like her image.
It depicts the upper half of a female figure. The top of her head has been cut off by the slab's upper edge. She has no hair and has a very pointy chin. Her eyes are big, her nose just sketched, her mouth closed, the expression is neutral.
Her arms rest along her side, but no hands are visible. Her breast is faintly visible. Next to her right ear the date 1769 has been carved. I don't think it can be classified as a real sheela-na-gig, but this is the closest definition I can find for her.
It was pouring rain in the moment we were here. Moreover the bridge is narrow and busy, so I had to stay in the rain for a long time to take photos and measurements.


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