IRELAND – JANUS FIGURE

This sample of sacred stonework is probably later than the Megalithic period – Bronze Age/Iron Age. It is to be found in the grounds of an ancient church on Boa Island in Lough Erne. It depicts the god Janus, well known through the Romans. The origins of the god would go back into the remote past, well before the Roman period. The statue is carved in twin form, one side facing the future, the other side the past – beginnings and endings. No way of knowing how old this example is – relatively well preserved. He is accompanied however by a smaller statue with two opposing faces, worn and giving the impression of greater age. I was unable to get a recognisable picture of him, what with undergrowth and the fact that night was closing in. The scene had an eerie feel in a way, but tremendously peaceful. Yet another example of the continuity of Christianity with the old religion.

The triangular form of the face is echoed in statues throughout Europe of the pre-Christian period. It would be interesting to find out the origins of these triangular headed folk. There are plenty of their descendants in Britain and Europe today.

County Fermanagh is bisected from West to East by Lough Erne. It could have provided a route for the early farmers in the Neolithic period moving from the Atlantic shores to the East – to the great settlements they set up on the Boyne.

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