You might think it serendipitous.Maybe there is some cosmic intervention afoot. Can it be coincidental that   on the day after the the statue of the sea god was stolen during the night that the following day’s news carried film footage of several fishermen being hauled from their sinking boat in  the turbulent Norneverland Sea. They only suffered some mild distress thankfully, …some  exposure to the inclement winter  elements and the wrath of the sea. Believe me , I know how hard these fellows work for our fish and I am grateful for every  fresh haddock fillet that passes my plate every week. I regularly support our local fisher-persons by routinely feasting on  cobbler, haddock and the odd monkfish tail. The wife’s not so keen on monkfish though, so that’s a rare treat.One of these days I’ll even  tell you all about my own nighmarish day of the soul , as prisoner on a deep-sea fishing boat with a party of German fish-killers armed with pliers , saws and hammers…but I digress…

The story began with the disappearance of the statue of  Manannán Mac Lir, which is made out of fibre glass and stainless steel. It was stolen from Binevenagh Mountain near Limavady in County Londonderry in an ancient pagan-loving part of Norneverland.You might already have heard that Norneverland is the place where much of the world- conquering “Game of Thrones ” television series has been filmed and it is obvious that many locals  are also  afraid that its baleful influence will reinvigorate an interest in the old gods of yore. It might stir them up. Sculptor John Sutton who worked on the television series spent many months and industrious  creative , artistic energy, creating  this offering to the seas. It was reportedly worth about £10, 000 .00. After installation it had become a popular tourist attraction. You can imagine that with the interest in the  television series ,that tourists would also gradually percolate from all points on the globe to gape in wonder at this creation. Multi -camera slung Japanese would l vie with American and Australian  hippies to photograph it from every angle. Guides were already enjoying some passing tourist  trade in pointing it out to visitors.

Manannán Mac Lir is, and was , a sea deity in Irish mythology  who was said to have been the first ruler of the Isle of Man.you wouldn’t have much bother ruling those Manx men if you were a god , naturally enough.Manand is the old gaelic name for the Isle of Man out there in the Norneverland Sea, and as his surname suggests, he was the son of Lir, meaning sea.

The sculpture was apparently not  valuable in terms of re-claimable metals, being made mostly of steel and fibreglass, so the thieves would have been better served purloining a handful of man -hole covers or the like and according to the sculptor it would have taken them several hours with angle grinders to cut  Manannán Mac Lir from his base .The unfortunate vandals left only his feet but apparently he was so heavy that it would have taken several men, hours to finish the task and carry the unfortunate god away.

Tellingly , the thieves left a wooden crucifix with the acclamation that ‘You shall have no other gods before me’. You might know that the crucifix is an old  roughly  “T” shaped apparatus for inflicting death in a particularly barbaric  way by hanging up the victim to die slowly . It is also used  by Christians as symbol…like the fish ..of their adherence to following the teachings of Jesus Christ, who was supposedly also an associate of fishermen and also  a “fisher of men”. If you didn’t know  the significance of  this before, and all the varied connections to fishing and the sea  ,well….. you might have some idea now .

People in the Limavady area tell of the presence of a sea god in Lough Foyle, County Londonderry, and the widespread practice of making offerings to deities in Celtic times.

A search is now on to reclaim the statue and find the “Christian”  thieves, but it may be fruitless.This kind of thing has happened before .it’s usually drunken students  who have the inclination to be-head some dignitary’s sculpted image whilst on a revel.One , I can recall , was caught with the “head” as he carried his trophy home. It never looked good on his CV.

These thieves of Manannán Mac Lir obviously have a lot of spare  time on their hands.They could quite possibly have been in the throes of a magic mushroom escapade or maybe had the inhuman strength and imagination that is sometimes  inspired by ingesting a particularly strong batch of LSD, …..but finding themselves “coming down ” eight hours later, unknowingly  in possession of  this mighty work of art ,might give them some pause for thought.. After all ,cutting up and hiding the evidence  might save them from a court appearance sometime soon but it will never be enough to assuage the wrath of the great re-invigorated  sea god . None of them had better go swimming or  take to the waters any time soon, methinks. Now might be the time to start making a few offerings to the sea….Like “Jaws”, he’s out there waiting for them…….


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