So, have been thinking today about sex – I know some of you lot may be thinking oh no, not again! but I was actually thinking what’s Ireland’s contribution to sex? The French obviously gave us the French Kiss and the Spanish..ummm Spanish Fly, India, the Karma Sutra (and curry, though I am not advocating combining them!), America gave us the boob job aka Silicon Valley, at least I think that’s what they are referring to, the Scots? well, closet transvestism, the English gave the world nannies, ridding crops and rather worryingly – Viagra – yes, I had to look that one up on Wikipedia but it seems to be true (unless I change the entry..) but what have the Irish given the world of sex – apart from this absolutely hilarious donkey story and Colin Farrell’s Sex Tape
I’m starting to get concerned about this, there’s a huge erection in the centre of Dublin called The Spire of Dublin or Monument of Light but it’s a giant needle and known as The Prick to locals and I’m starting to think we’re over compensating for something or another..
And then we have the statue of Anna Livia otherwise known as ‘The Floozie in the Jacuzzi’ or ‘The Whore in the Sewer’, the Irish have a habit of treating fine art with some humour, hence;
The ‘tart with the cart’, or ‘the dish with the fish’ – the statue of Molly Malone, the fictional character of the eponymous song, shown wheeling her wheelbarrow of fish.
The ‘quare in the square’ – the statue of Oscar Wilde in Merrion Park Square (quare is a local pronunciation of queer).
The ‘prick with a stick’ – James Joyce carrying a walking cane.
The ‘hags with the bags’ – the statue of two women with shopping bags near the Halfpenny Bridge.
However, after some research, OK OK, a lot of research, here’s Ireland’s contribution to gnéas – and as you will see, the Irish were way ahead of their time;
Ancient Irish laws, called the Brehon Laws, provided women full equality with men. That’s right, they could inherit property or bequeath their own; they could marry or divorce the man of their choosing; even the right of a woman to experience satisfaction in marriage was enshrined in its legal framework. In Europe, where burning uppity women at the stake became a national pastime, the Irish attitude to sexual equality between the sexes was nothing short of revolutionary.
There was no sex in Ireland before TV
Oliver J. Flanagan, the longtime Fine Gael politician, once famously said “there was no sex in Ireland before television.” Flanagan was appalled by the frankness of public debates on Irish television about matters he thought should never be discussed: sex, sexuality, women’s rights. But Flanagan lived to see his conservative standards collapsing all around him. This was in 1966, by the way. It’s safe to assume he would have been appalled by 2010.
There will be no sex in heaven
The only time sex is not sinful, according to the Catholic church, is when the intention or the possibility of conceiving are present. So no sex in Heaven, then. If we don’t have earthly bodies there will be no need to procreate. Don’t even be thinking about just enjoying yourselves sexually in the afterlife, because that’s sinful too. It was having sex on earth on earth that sent men and women to the other place. But if you’re dammed if you do and damned if you don’t, the Irish discovered, then you might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.
However, the surprising thing that Ireland did give the word of sex is porn. Yep, afraid it’s true, the image above is a Sheela na Gigs, The carved stones can range from 1/2 to 1 metre in height. The figure is of a naked woman with her legs spread wide, often holding her vulva open with her hands. The rest of the figure may be quite thin-looking, sometimes with the ribs clearly showing. The quality of the carving is often primitive, and centuries of weathering have obscured the detail on many of the surviving examples.
Most Sheela na Gigs are found in Ireland, set into the walls of churches (or occasionally castles). Their age is usually taken as that of the buildings in which they are found, dating from the 12th to the 16th Century, but it is possible that some of the carvings were older, and moved to these sites.
Obviously there was no Youtube, internet porn, even magazines in 12th century Ireland so they had so make do with statues like this. I wonder if Hugh Hefner appreciates the efforts we Irish made to kick start his Playboy business?