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…….