Where is Manannán?

January 30, 2015

On January 21st news broke of a terrible act of desecration: A statue of Manannán mac Lir, which had been situated at the Gortmore viewing point, near Limavady in Co. Derry, since 2013, had been stolen. The thieves had used power tools to remove the statue of Manannán from its base, and in its place they had left a large wooden cross inscribed with the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.”

The statue was installed by the local council as part of a myth and heritage trail, and it is – or was – one of five such sculptures in the area. To some people the statue was a popular place to visit and take photographs, while to others it was a place of pilgrimmage, and a celebration of the area’s history, heritage, and culture. To us as Gaelic Polytheists, the statue of Manannán was beautiful and sacred, and its theft – and the apparently religious motivations behind it – has shocked, saddened, and angered so many of us.

In the past week, messages of support and solidarity have been pouring in to a group set up to celebrate the statue and help raise awareness of its theft, and the story has gained international attention of truly staggering proportions, in both the mainstream press and more specialised news outlets such as The Wild Hunt, who approached us for comment on the story. Although as yet no news of the statue’s whereabouts has emerged, or who may be responsible for the theft, we are still hoping and praying for justice and the safe return of Manannán mac Lir to the Limavady area. As long as the statue is being talked about, as long as awareness is being raised and spread, there is hope that justice will be done.

As we told The Wild Hunt, Gaol Naofa has been covering the story closely on our Facebook page as the search continues, and we have been producing memes to share and posting resources for those who might be looking for some inspiration in their own spiritual work to help return the statue, including traditional songs and prayers. We have now created a new page here on the Gaol Naofa website to host all of the images in one place, which you can find in the Resources section of our Library.

Like so many people who’ve been shocked and appalled by the actions of the individuals responsible for the theft, we want to do what we can to support the community of Limavady (and others who’ve been deeply saddened by this act of desecration) and would like to help in whatever way we can as the search continues. As part of that, we’ve now produced a new video, which discusses the theft and outlines a prayer that’s been specially written for the occasion, and has lyrics to a traditional song for you to sing:

We invite you to join your voices with us in singing him home!

A Mhanannáin, A Mhanannáin,
Son of the Sea, we are calling you home.
Son of the Sea, we are calling you home.

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25 January — Burns Night
31 January — Gealach Ùr
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