Sheela-na-Gig 3D

Project Name

Sheela Na Gig 3D Project

Project Date

December 2016 - Present


Orla Peach Power - Gary Dempsey

 Ballyderry Sheela - Co. Galway

Ballyderry Sheela - Co. Galway

'Sheela-na-Gig 3D is a multi-phase, trans-disciplinary project that will record the catalogue of Sheela na-Gig carvings in Ireland, using non-contact digital methodologies including photogrammetry and laser scanning.


Sheela-Na-Gigs are somewhat of an enigma.  The original function of these exhibitionist carvings is possibly lost to time.  Generally a 'Sheela' is a grotesque female figure, exhibiting an exaggerated vulva and breasts. The carvings come in many shapes and sizes.  Theyappear in both religious and secular buildings, their locations often being a secondary placement and therefore difficult to date.  

After a period of popularity in the Medieval period, changing attitudes may have lead to the removal and destruction of these carvings by local clergy  Where stones do survive some have been damaged, or degraded by weathering.  The Sheela-Na-Gig Project will create a detailed digital record of the current state of the stones, providing a useful tool for current and future researchers and local communities.  

Sheela-na-Gig County Surveys


The Project Objects 


Compile a comprehensive list of  Sheela-Na-Gig carvings both historical and contemporary.  This list will provide base line data for both current and future reserach projcets  


Digitally record the existing Sheela-na-Gig carvings, and provide an accessible digital library of records. 


Engage local communities through outreach and artistic projects creating an awareness of the local narritive behind these carvings

Encourage diverse research projects to look at various aspects of Sheela-Na-Gig tradition


 Supported by The Heritage Council