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Manannan Mac Lir sea god statue by Game of Thrones sculptor back on Binevenagh Mountain perch


Local SDLP councillor Gerry Mullan beside the new sculpture

Local SDLP councillor Gerry Mullan beside the new sculpture

Local SDLP councillor Gerry Mullan beside the new sculpture

A statue that was cut down from a mountain near Limavady by Christian fundamentalists has finally been replaced - and the £10,000 cost is worth every penny, a councillor has said.

The Celtic sea god monument made headlines across the world last year when it was knocked off its perch on Binevenagh Mountain and was missing for around a month.

The 9ft high statue, by sculptor John Sutton, who has worked on Game Of Thrones, had became a popular tourist attraction.

The figure of Manannan Mac Lir stood in a boat's prow at the top of the mountain, but was cut down last January by vandals.

A land and air search involving PSNI officers followed but failed to find the missing monument, which was later discovered by a group of ramblers.

The badly damaged sea god was found close to its original designated spot at Gortmore Viewing Point but was deemed unfit to be put back.

Those who stole it left a wooden cross with the words 'You shall have no other gods before me' in its place. The SDLP's Gerry Mullan said the sculpture was vital for local tourism and he was delighted to see a new one in place.

He said: "The replacement sculpture was put back on Saturday afternoon and quickly attracted a large crowd of spectators.

"Some people might say this is a huge waste of money, but I think it is a vital investment in tourism for the local area.

"The original one was found with chunks missing from its head and was too badly damaged to be put back.

"But I am hoping we can use it in the local arts centre for educational purposes.

"The new one has been reinforced, but I hope those involved in damaging the first one don't do the same again.

"Tourism is the only real sustainable industry we have in the north west and this piece of art is vital to help boost that industry.

"We even had a bus tour come to see the sculpture almost the minute it went back up again."

Belfast Telegraph