Why it was stolen remains a mystery while finding it was proving almost impossible; until a group of ramblers stumbled across it.
The saga of the missing six-foot tall statue of a Celtic sea god, Mannanán Mac Lir by ‘Game of Thrones’ sculptor, John Darren Sutton, has became a worldwide story.
A Facebook campaign calling for its return attracted almost 7,000 followers, a Limavady funeral director offered a reward for information leading to its recovery while a pagan priest said it was a hate crime.
Despite an air and land search by police in Limavady, there was still no trace of the fibre glass statue until Saturday when James Hamill and 14 fellow members of Bannside Rambling Club were walking on Binevenagh.
“It was near the edge of the cliffs where we spotted it, some 20 feet below on some rocks,” James told the ‘Journal’. “It was lying on its back and its arms were outstretched as if it was asking for help to be lifted up, We knew what it was and we couldn’t believe it. Half of the statue’s head at the back was broken off, but the front seemed to be in tact.”
James says the group continued on Bishop’s Road where they saw an army landrover.
“We spoke with them and they came back down with us to where the statue was,” said James, who said the soldier rang the police. The ramblers headed on for their lunch and on to Castlerock.
“I don’t know if the statue has always been there, who knows but you would think if it had of been brought back it would have been left somewhere more obvious. It’s a mystery,” said James.
Meantime, Valerie Richmond of Limavady Borough Council says Mr Sutton has been to view the statue at Limavady police station, and will be assessing the damage.
“We’ll just have to wait and see if it’s possible the sculpture can be restored, but we are just delighted it has been recovered. It’s a relief,” said Ms Richmond.
Mr Sutton said it was “fantastic news” the popular piece of art, which took six months to craft and cost in the region of £10,000, had been found and he would be assessing the damage in the next few days.
SDLP Colr. Gerry Mullan (pictured with the statue in Limavady police station) said: “Whether it can be restored or not has not yet been established but, fingers crossed, one of our borough’s finest tourist attractions will be returned in all it’s glory.”