Manannán Mac Lir to reappear at Stendhal

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A sculpture of a Celtic sea-god stolen in 2015 by apparent Christian extremists is to make a re-appearance at a Limavady music and arts festival this weekend.

The stolen sculpture of the mythic sea-god, Manannán Mac Lir, is to feature at this year’s Stendhal Festival, due to begin on Friday.

The sculpture itself was originally erected at a picturesque location above the cliffs of Binevenagh in Co Derry by the old Limavady Borough Council as part of a ‘myths and legends’ sculpture trail. It was cut from its base in January 2015 and replaced with a small wooden cross bearing the words of the fifth commandment - you shall have no other gods before me.

The mystery overnight disappearance of the beautiful sculpture and the apparent religious motivation for the act of vandalism sparked headlines around the world and, eventually, the sculpture turned up. A group of ramblers making their way through the rugged cliffs at Binevenagh a few weeks later happened upon the badly damaged work of art.

Deemed by the council to have been too badly damaged to be repaired and returned to the top of Binevenagh, a replica was commissioned from the original artist, Darren Sutton. However, it is the stolen original - after some repairs - that is to feature at this year’s Stendhal Festival.

Festival Director Ross Parkhill said: “We were really just chancing our arm after we heard that a bit of restoration work had been undertaken on the original piece. To our delight, the council agreed to let us show him off.

“The piece is a stunning work - and of course, has the history of the theft and the worldwide attention it garnered attached - so we are thrilled that we are able to bring him along to the festival.”

The sculpture will be on display at the ‘Woodland’ section of the Festival.