Ralaghan Man

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Ralaghan Figure

Ralaghan Man is an anthropomorphic, carved wooden figure found in the bog of Ralaghan, County Cavan, Ireland, which dates back to the late bronze age; currently on display in the National Museum of Ireland.[1]


Ralaghan Figure head
Curiosity from the bog. A newspaper article from the Chatham New York Courier, 1931.

Adolf Mahr, keeper of Irish Antiquities in the National Museum in Dublin wrote in 1930; The figure was found, while cutting turf, under 3 to 4 feet of peat....It is made of yew, its height being 3 feet, 8 and five eighths inches.[2] It was found in Ralaghan bog, which has since been drained, on a boundary. It is therefore currently regarded as a boundary marker, though it has also been referred to as a votive offering.[3]


Although covered in cracks, the figure has strongly incised facial features.[4] The left eye is slightly higher than the right, with the nose off-centre and possible damage to the left of the face. The pubic area features a gouged out hole (initially reported as drilled)[5] which led the initial theory that the figures was female. It was established however that the figure was male; the location of the missing 'male organ' is not known.[6]


Ralaghan man is currently part of the Kingship and Sacrifice exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland.[7]


  1. ^ "National Museum of Ireland". museum.ie. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  2. ^ Mahr 1930 'A wooden idol form Ireland', Antiquity 4, 487
  3. ^ O' Sullivan, Aidan. "Exploring past people's interactions with wetland environments in Ireland". Academia.edu. ria.metapress.com. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Coles, Bryony (1990). "Anthropomorphic Wooden Figures from Britain and Ireland". Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 56 (2050-2729): 315––333. doi:10.1017/S0079497X0000517X. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Mahr 1930 'A wooden idol form Ireland', Antiquity 4, 487
  6. ^ Ralaghan Man, http://agsmaoineamh.com/2014/06/24/ralaghan-man/
  7. ^ "National Museum of Ireland". museum.ie. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 

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