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Clonmacnoise Sheela, Nun's Church (Outside the main gates of the Clonmacnoise "compound") (visited May 1994 and November 1998)

This sheela is fairly difficult to find, but worth the hunt. She is located on a voussoir of the chancel arch of the Nun's church. FYI-- since the Nun's Church is situated outside the walls of Clonmacnoise, you do not have to pay the admission fee if you just want to stop off and see this sheela. However, if you do this, you are really missing out on some spectacular history and architecture at Clonmacnoise itself.

This sheela has a HUGE head, and is the only sheela that I have seen that has her feet up behind her ears, "acrobat style". Unfortunately, many of the figures on the arch have been destroyed. The figure directly under the sheela looks like it has been hacked off. Only time will tell if this sheela-na-gig remains safe in such an unsupervised yet heavily- touristed setting.

To help you locate the sheela should you ever visit, I'm including two shots of the Nun's church (above) indicating her position. She also cuts an impressive profile, as you can see in the photo below.


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copyright 2000 Tara McLoughlin