Theft of Binevenagh Sea god

The removal of the statue of a celtic sea god Manannán Mac Lir has been covered by a number of the news outlets. The large heavy statue was placed at a view point on Binevenagh Mountain about a year ago. According to John Sutton its sculptor it would have been difficult to remove and required angle grinders and and several hours. It has now been taken and replaced with a cross bearing the words: “You shall have no other gods before me” which some have taken to be a reference to the First Commandment (verbatim from the NIV Exodus 20:3) resulting in police considering a religious motivation for the theft as reported by the BBC and News Letter.

The Belfast Telegraph is more certain: “Christian extremists steal statue…” though possibly less accurate in its report of the inscription: “Thou Shalt Not Have False Gods Before Me” which is not a translation from any version I can find and clearly conflicts with the text from other news outlets. It couldn’t be that our leading national newspaper (the one that thinks Strabane is in Fermanagh) did not actually go to the site?

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  • Ernekid

    Fundamentalist Christians removing artwork they disagree with, isn’t that not far removed from fundamentalist Muslims attacking a magazine that produced artwork they disagree with?

    Religion can truly be a pox at times


  • the rich get richer

    Message from

    Manannán Mac Lir

    If ye don’t put my statue back up then I suggest ye start building an Ark.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Very little in common with those who cut the cross on Carran Tuathail a couple of months ago anyway for the opposite reason. Well apart from knowing how to use an angle grinder.


  • Sergiogiorgio

    I’ll take angle grinders over AK47’s any day of the week….

    I agree though with the religious sentiment – the scourge of history – is there anything religion can actually offer us apart from paradoxes?

  • Croiteir

    Fundamental secuarists removing artwork they disagree with isn’t that not far removed from fundamentalist Muslims attacking a magazine that produced artwork they disagree with?

    Secularism can truly be a pox at times


  • carl marks

    The cross at Caruntohill. Sunset on good Friday 2013. Had just climbed Howling ridge,it was a bracing -10 and for a lttlle minute I was the highest person on the island.

  • carl marks

    Sorry two pics came up there ignore the pond one.

  • nigel mckinney

    Terrible for the sculptor to have his work vandalised but what’s the greater act if vandalism – putting up a statute ( or a metal cross) in a place of great natural beauty or taking it down?

  • John Gorman

    Disagree entirely I thought the statue added to the natural beauty. I still dont get why this has been done. Do the fundamentalists actually think the area is being run by Lord Summerisle and is some sort of haven for practicing pagans, do they not think that maybe just maybe it was placed on the mountain to attract a few tourists – muppets

  • terence patrick hewett

    Yr very lucky to have a culture: the English have not:

    It was Christmas Day in the workhouse
    The snow white walls were black
    Along came the Workhouse Master
    With his suit cut out of a sack.

    In came the Christmas pudding
    When a voice that shattered glass
    Said: “We don’t want your Christmas pudding
    You can stick it with the rest of the unwanted presents”

    Yes, I remember Adlestrop —
    The name, because one afternoon
    Of heat the express-train drew up there
    Unwontedly. It was late June.

    The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
    No one left and no one came
    On the bare platform. What I saw
    Was Adlestrop — only the name

    And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
    And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
    No whit less still and lonely fair
    Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

    And for that minute a blackbird sang
    Close by, and round him, mistier,
    Farther and farther, all the birds
    Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

    To begin at the beginning:

    It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless
    and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched,
    courters’-and-rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the
    sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea.
    The houses are blind as moles (though moles see fine to-night
    in the snouting, velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat
    there in the muffled middle by the pump and the town clock,
    the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows’ weeds.
    And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are
    sleeping now.

    Hush, the babies are sleeping, the farmers, the fishers,
    the tradesmen and pensioners, cobbler, schoolteacher,
    postman and publican, the undertaker and the fancy woman,
    drunkard, dressmaker, preacher, policeman, the webfoot
    cocklewomen and the tidy wives. Young girls lie bedded soft
    or glide in their dreams, with rings and trousseaux,
    bridesmaided by glowworms down the aisles of the
    organplaying wood. The boys are dreaming wicked or of the
    bucking ranches of the night and the jollyrodgered sea. And
    the anthracite statues of the horses sleep in the fields,
    and the cows in the byres, and the dogs in the wetnosed
    yards; and the cats nap in the slant corners or lope sly,
    streaking and needling, on the one cloud of the roofs.

    Ich am of Irlonde,
    And of the holy londe
    Of Irlonde.
    Goode sire, praye ich thee,
    For of sainte charitee,
    Com and dance with me
    In Irlonde.

  • kalista63

    Loving the reference. We can remember this next to e they’re on shouting about they’re right to discriminate and the supposed persecution of their unscientific, non compassionate views.

  • the facebook page can be found here in support of Manannán Mac Lir of ……. he`s even making the news in Russia

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    “ye wouldn’t be long gettin’ frostbit”

    *high fives himself…*

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    In all honesty, I think it’s just as likely that some hallion stole it to sell it for scrap and just put a cross up to confuddle everyone.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Scratch last, apparently it was mainly fibre glass….

  • John Gorman

    Dont think so. Im pretty sure I read somewhere that the statue had some sort of fibreglass base and wasnt a bronze sculpture so therefore it is pretty worthless as scrap.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Yeah, just read that meself, I’ll now randomly point the finger elsewhere, probably thon red haired hussy from Game of Thrones.
    That’ll do, it was her. Foshizzle.

  • David Crookes

    It was Christmas Day in Binevenagh,
    Whose plateau is much admired,
    When the sea-goddess said, ‘Jsem unavená!’,
    Which means, in Czech, I am tired.

    She was heard by a pair of boyos
    Who believed she was speaking Erse.
    They cried, ‘Our streams and arroyos
    Will soon be under a curse.

    ‘In the name of curry and yoghurt,
    In the name of Roaring Hanna,
    In the name of Humphrey Bogart,
    We shall rid the world of Manannán.

    ‘No heathen fool will find her!
    We’ll make her disappear:
    We’ll use our angle-grinder,
    And deal with Miss MacLir.’

    The goddess fought like Joan of Arc:
    She used up seven blades!
    The bould Napoleon Bonaparte
    Could hear the noise in Hades.

    Exhausted by their labour,
    The men began to sob.
    You see, this pair of wasters
    Had never done a job.

    One boyo eyed his brother,
    And gave a woeful grunt:
    ‘I wish the job was over —
    We’re missing Bargain Hunt.’

    ‘I know,’ the lad responded,
    ‘We’ve ground for quite a while;
    I’m feeling quite depondent —
    We’re missing Jeremy Kyle.’

    At length Manannán hit the ground,
    And promptly fell asleep;
    The boyos took a look around,
    And threw her in their jeep.

    ‘What’ll we do,’ one boyo cried,
    ‘With the goddess of Binevenagh?’
    ‘I tell you what,’ his mate replied,
    ‘We’ll sell her to Joe Kavanagh.’

  • carl marks

    Tell you man, it was 1.00 before we got to the tent’s and it hadn’t got any warmer but a great day altogether!
    It’s amazing how many mountains round the world that have some form of religious icon on them. it seems almost to be a constant to associate mountains with whatever god or god’s they believe in.
    the cairns you find on top of nearly every mountain in Ireland and Britain came from the custom of carrying a small stone from the bottom of the mountain and placing it on the top, this was meant as a offering to the god of the mountain, some (myself included) still do it.
    this is the emigrants cairn at An Carn, people from the local townland who were leaving for America or Australia would bring a stone to this spot which overlooks the townland.

  • carl marks

    I never seem the statue but the cross at Carrauntoohil, i liked for no religious reason but it was a grand spot to stand and think when the world was stretched out in front of You, that is of course if the mountain wasn’t covered in fog then it was a blessing for giving you a reference point for the map and compass on the way down.

  • nigel mckinney

    Well it’s an act of gross vandalism – that’s for sure and fair point about the cairns etc. but I still don’t get the modern predeliction for interfering with naturally beautiful places – often in the name of tourism

  • carl marks

    well each to their own, the main point is your getting fresh air and exercise.

  • carl marks

    most aren’t necessarily in the name of tourism, and many have stood for a long time.
    The cross on Carrauntoohil for example has no tourist value worth mentioning as people will climb the mountain because it is the mountain and not to see a plain steel cross, Croagh Patrick is a example religious tourism, the reason for many climbing the reek is a pilgrimage to a central location of the christian mythos on the island and the chapel built on top of it is out of place and ugly (my opinion).

  • carl marks

    well as i say each to there own, i agree we have much too many religious parades in this country.
    just out of interest do you find all religious parades as pointless?

  • carl marks

    well i meant the one on croagh was the focus of a religious parade as i stated the cross on Carrauntoohil, i was just wondering about the other 4000 religious parades we have every year. would you apply the same rule to flag and arches etc as you do to cross’s, we wont even go into the “leave no trace bit.

  • Janos Bingham

    now I enjoy a bit of doggerel as much as the next man, but isn’t Manannán of the male persuasion?

  • David Crookes

    Thanks a lot, Janos, and yes, you’re right, but I was at pains to incorporate some of the illiterate reporting in a wickedly unmetrical piece of folk verse. Every so often I blaze out in vengeance against a lot of the local folk poetry that I’ve been forced to listen to.
    Now let me be serious. No Christian should ever vandalize a work of art. St Luke tells us without embarrassment in Acts 28. 11 that he and St Paul sailed to Syracuse in a ship with a Castor-and-Pollux figurehead.
    Literal iconoclasts can deceive themselves into thinking that rabid hatred is holy wrath, and that God agrees with them. Let me say something as a part-time evangelical preacher. I wish that the Reformation had not involved vandalism. The model of urbanity for a Christian confronted by paganism is the courtesy which St Paul displays when he addresses the Athenians in Acts 17.
    Historians often tell us that the Hundred Years War brutalized for generations the nations over which it raged. I sometimes wonder if the vulgar sacral-state politics of the last forty years has permanently coarsened a large number of PULs who regard themselves as evangelicals. It has certainly coarsened the world of unionist politics. On YouTube you can find archival videos of men like Terence O’Neill, William Morgan, Brian Faulkner, and William Craig. Even when these men disagreed strongly with each other, they displayed such a degree of urbanity as is unthinkable in the barbarous modern world of Wilson and Campbell.

  • Janos Bingham

    You’re obviously much more aware of the subtleties of the cross and inscription left at the scene than I am. The evidence must strongly suggest ‘PUL’ fundamentalists to you, but could it not have been the work of parachuted in Jesuit Commando?

    I read the ‘Da Vinci Code’ and some of those shadowy Vatican types seem a rum lot.

  • carl marks

    merely making a comparison, after not all us of think that all the symbolism around parades is pleasing to the eye and they certainly leave a trace. not really sure what the 4×4 up Trostan thing is about, and for your information i get out and about on the hill’s quite a lot, but i was thinking that someone so concerned about the environment that he would go to the trouble to remove parts of what is in effect a very environmentally friendly structure which provide a lot of niches for minibeasts to nest and lay eggs etc in spring summer and shelter in the colder months would be livid about the environmental damage done during the whole 11th- 12th thing.
    Oh and the Leave no trace thing, a good motto to live by but you seem to have problems with what it means,check it out!

  • carl marks

    David, on a nearly related thing.
    My Father in law’s (a wee presbyterian from kell’s) favourite joke was where after a service a orangeman came up to the minister and shaking his hand vigorously told the surprised minister that he really enjoyed the sermon, especially the bit about St Paul taking a pistol to the Fenians!

    thought i would share that one.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Janos, but the PUL boys are a wee bit less tolerant of images than your Legion-of-Mary paratroopers.
    And bless you, carl, that’s a new one to me, although I worked not far from Kells for years. A troubled Ballymena boy once asked me on a Monday morning to find for him in the Bible the book of Tomahawk, from which he claimed his minister had read on the previous day.
    He meant Habakkuk.

  • carl marks

    and pray you don’t live somewhere prone to flooding!

  • carl marks

    perhaps more akin to the Taliban blowing up statues of the Buddha in Afghanistan.

  • carl marks

    where did this happen?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Even when these men disagreed strongly with each other, they displayed such a degree of urbanity as is unthinkable in the barbarous modern world of Wilson and Campbell.”

    David, I remember this time where every opinion (even mine!) could be aired in an atmopshere of good humoured tolerant banter. I even remember a more tolerant Ronnie Bunting Senior before he saw his place in history beckoning.

  • LordSummerisle

    Surprisingly not the first time the crack pots have been active in this area.

    Two years ago a man spray painted Bible verses outside the local places of worship. None of that NIV wishy washy clap trap good old AV. I am sure there is a connection.