Manannan Mac Lír statue back in place at Binevenagh

Seamus McKinney
29 February, 2016 01:00

A STATUE of a mythical Celtic sea god stolen more than a year ago from Binevenagh Mountain has been replaced.

The statue of Celtic god, Manannan Mac Lír was replaced at Binevenagh cliffs overlooking the entrance to Lough Foyle on Saturday morning.

The removal and destruction of the statue in January last year received worldwide interest when it emerged that religious fundamentalists were believed to be behind the incident. After cutting the sculpture from its boat-shaped plinth at Binevenagh outside Limavady, thieves replaced the structure with a large cross bearing the words of the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”

The statue by Dungannon artist, John Sutton – who has worked on the Game of Thrones – was commissioned by the former Limavady Borough Council as part of a myths and legends trail through the Roe Valley. Standing with hands outstretched, the statue represented the mythical Manannan Mac Lír figure who was described as the Celtic Neptune.

The stolen statue was eventually found by a ramblers' group around a month after its removal near Gortmore viewing point. However, it was too badly damaged to be replaced immediately.

Commissioned by the new Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council to make a replacement, Mr Sutton completed the work earlier this year at a cost of £10,000. It is understood the replacement has included new structures to make it difficult to cut the statue down again.

Limavady SDLP councillor Gerry Mullan said the return of the statue to Binevenagh had already proved a focus for visitors. Mr Mullan said a number of people travelled to the site over the weekend to view the replacement statue and to take photographs.

“When I was up on Saturday afternoon, a bus load of visitors turned up and as word spread that the statue – I call him ‘My Man on the Hill’ – was back in place, more and more local people came up to see it,” Mr Mullan said.

The Limavady councillor does not believe those behind last year’s attack would strike again.

“There had been a huge search, including a police helicopter, and it was not discovered until a month later. I think it was left back after whoever did this saw the reaction to what they had done. I think on reflection they left it back and would not damage it again,” Mr Mullan said.

29 February, 2016 01:00 News