Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Dagda’s harp brings in the greening.

There is a gentle green that hovers like mist about the trees.

Leaf buds prepare to burst forth, birdsong fills the air and Ireland has awakened.

In Irish mythology the land, its’ sovereignty and fertility, were the province of the Goddesses 
but The Dagda, the Good God, also played his part in providing for the people.


We are told that he possessed two great treasures; a magical harp and the cauldron, Undry, which contained endless bounty "from which none returned unfulfilled".

'The Cauldron of the Dagda' by Paula O’Sullivan 
which stands in Tralee’s Sculpture Garden of the Senses. 

As leader of the Tuatha Dé Danann, he used his strength to clear twelve plains overnight, then created twelve rivers, to provide fertile, agricultural land and streams which brought “produce from the sea to tribes and kindreds.” 

A symbol of his virility was described by the antiquarian John Garvin in 1940’s as Bod a'Daghda,  the Dagdha's Penis.

The phallic Dagda's Stone, known by some as ‘the Dagda’s Dick, 
in the Bricklieve Mountains.
Photo © Martin Byrne courtesy of

In Ardmore, Co. Waterford was the Cloch Daha, a stone which may also have been associated with the Good God. 
It was described as having a trough-like shape with a oval hole at the centre. 

Drawing of the Cloch Daha. 

The folklore of Ardmore tells of a tradition where the young unmarried men of the village inserted a pole into the hole of the Cloch-Daha then fixed a rope onto the top. 
Local single women would dance around the stone holding the rope so that the pole spun around. 
The custom ended with the young men pulling the women through the village seated on logs of wood. Owing to the sexual overtones these rites were stopped, the stone removed by the clergy then buried in the last century. 

The Cloch-Daha is thought to have been found and sits in the grounds 
of Monea House, Ardmore.

Only a few symbols of male fertility can be seen in the landscape.

Maghera, Co. Down.
Pic courtesy of Beyond the Pale

The Ballygilbert stone, Co. Antrim. 
Pic courtesy of Megalithamania

Male exhibitionist figure known as the Sean-na-Gig part of a gatepost, 
Ballycloughduff, Co. Westmeath.

However, The Dagda, it is believed controls the crops and harvest from his Otherworld home. 

Whilst, unheard by mortal ears, his magical harp plays on, calling forth the greening of the year.

Information about Ireland’s phallic stones can be found HERE and male exhibitionist carvings HERE 


  1. Thats the 1st time I ve met Sean no Gig. Great photos Jane, you must know every inch of the land.

  2. Hi Ita - he's interesting isn't he? Not sure about knowing every inch - just fascinated by folklore etc :)

  3. An artist lost my harp you know and I still feel bereft.


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