An Illustrated Guide

This is partly an up-date reworking of The Divine Hag, but it includes a number of new figures and a new view of what they really mean. This book breaks the myths and taboos that have obscured the truth about these mysterious figures

Sheela-na-gigs are are primarily a sacred religious object that was erected on particular churches of the later medieval period and the middle ages. They are carvings of female images depicted as posing in a manner that accentuates the most powerfully evocative symbol of the feminine, the vulva. That they were regarded as important is shown by the fact that they were placed in very prominent positions such as over the main entrance door or a window. In Ireland the practice continued into the later middle ages where they are also found on castles and some other important structures such as old town walls.

Despite that they are primarily sacred religious symbols historians have been reluctant to treat them seriously and their true significance has gone unrecognized. The usual theories re that they were put up as protective talismans, good luck symbols, and the theory that they were erected as ‘warnings against sin and lust’ has found favor amongst some academia. Tradition does not support this view and all historical and traditional reference to them indicates that they were highly regarded, often revered images that evidently held a high position within the religious iconography of the earlier church.

I have been researching Sheela-na-gigs since since the early 1990’s and in 2001 released a book with co-researcher Joanne McMahon through Mercier Press, a Cork publishing house. “The Sheela-na-gigs of Ireland and Britain”, sub-titled, ‘The Divine Hag of the Christian Celts”. (see below)


An Illustrated Map/Guide

This Map/Guide was produced during the period of research for Island of the Sheela-na-gigs and as a fill-in publication after Mercier Press decided to cease publication of the Divine Hag. Not as comprehensive as ‘Island of the Sheela-na-gigs’ but a highly popular publication, especially as an introductory publication to the subject or a handy fold-up guide to the sites.



Co-published with Mercier Press in 2001 and co-authored with researcher Joanne McMahon.

This book has been widely acclaimed as the most informative and insightful publication on the subject to date. Based on research carried out over more than a decade all of the know figures in the British Isles and Ireland are illustrated and there is an informed discussion on the history, meaning and purpose of these mysterious and little known figures.

This book is now out of print and is only available as a Kindle edition through Amazon but my recent publication, ‘Island of the Sheela-na-gigs’ (above) is an updated appraisal of the subject, although with an emphasis on the Irish figure.

The Divine Hag is also available through Amazon as a Kindle edition.