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There are many opinions as to what the figures represent and their raison d'etre.

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Dating in meath

The figure fills the frame formed by the cut edge of the stone, and although considerably weathered, on closer examination most of the detail is still discernible.

The legs are slightly bent and face in the same direction, although the left foot is missing, presumably due to weathering.

The Ardcath figure falls into type 3 (those who pass both hands in front of the body to touch or indicate the pudenda) of Jerman's (1981.13) taxonomy which is based on the part played by the arms and hands.

He shows distinct groupings, suggesting that regional styles came into being with type 3 figures mainly occupying the midland lowlands. Ireland's Síle na Gig - Listing of Síle na Gig locations in Ireland.

Sheela-na-Gigs: Origins and Functions by Eamonn Kelly Sheela-na-gigs are carvings of naked females posed in a manner which displays and emphasises the genitalia.

Once thought of in negative terms only, they have more recently come to be regarded in a positive light.

With few exceptions, the vast majority of type 3 figures are undatable since they have been removed from their original context. The Sheela-na-Gigs of Ireland and Britain by Joanne Mc Mahon and Jack Roberts.

For this reason any suggestion as to the date or function of the Ardcath example must be very tenuous. Sheela-na-Gigs are carvings of female images depicted as naked and posing in a manner which accentuates the most powerfully evocative symbol of the vulva.

It is widely believed that they repel evil spirits.

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