In this episode, Christina speaks with Jack Roberts author of Sheela-na-Gig: Sacred Celtic Images of Feminine Divinity (Process). They discuss early church history, the significance of the carvings, the uneasy marriage of the Roman and Celtic church in Ireland, and the role of architecture in developing a symbolic language of sculpture.
Sheela-na-gig, the squatting, bald woman with comically large ears holding herself open in the most blatant way has long been a figure of mystery throughout Ireland where the stone statues are most prevalent. A multiplicity of theories have left Sheela-na-gigs the subject of curiosity. Researcher Jack Roberts has spent decades documenting and discovering Sheela-na-gigs in all her incarnations. His work places them as a critical element of Gaelic and Celtic culture at the crossroads of the Christian conversion of Ireland.
My particular favorite Sheela is located at Dunnaman Castle, about 15 minutes from my great-grandmother's town of Shanagolden, Limerick.