Acknowledgements List of abbreviations INTRODUCTION CHAPTER I: The Sheela-na-gig Phenomenon 1. Special identifying Features, distinctive Gestures and Classification 2. The Problem of Dating CHAPER II: Sheelas and Academic Research 1. Scholarly Discovery and first Speculations during the nineteenth Century a. Ireland b. England, Scotland and Wales 2. Twentieth century Theories a. A Norse Fertility Goddess b. A divine Patron of Women c. A Pagan Symbol of Fertility d. A Celtic Goddess e. A Christian Warning of Sin f. A Mater Ecclesia CHAPTER III: The Problem of the Name 1. Sheela-na-gig The Sculpture 2. Sheela na gigg The Dance 3. Sheelanagig The Ship 4. A new Look at the Name a. 'Sheelagh (i. e. Ireland)' b. Sheila Saint Patrick's stormy Wife c. gig A Woman's Privities CHAPTER IV: Sheelas, Birth, Death and Medieval Rural Traditions 1. The Hazards of Medieval Motherhood 2. Women's Helpers during Labour a. Stones b. Girdles c. Charms d. Midwives 3. Sheelas and Folk Religion a. Folk Deities assisting at Birth b. The continuous Cycle of Life and Death 4. The Christian Church and Folk Religion 5. Sheela Precursers and similar Figures CONCLUSION SHEELA-Na-Gig Catalogue 1. Ireland 2. England 3. Scotland 4. Wales 5. Sheela-na-gigs arranged by Counties Notes Bibliography Index
Lecturer in Intercultural Studies in the school of Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies, Dublin City University.