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The worship of the reproductive organs as representing the fertilizing, protecting, and saving powers of nature, apart from these secret rites, prevailed universally, as we have traced it fully in the preceding pages, and we only recur to that part of the subject to state that perhaps the last traces of it now to be found in our islands is met with on the western shores of Ireland. Off the coast of Mayo, there is a small island named Inniskea, the inhabitants of which are a very primitive and uncultivated race, and which, although it takes its name from a female saint (it is the insular sanctæ Geidhe of the Hibernian hagiographers), does not contain a single Catholic priest. Its inhabitants, indeed, as we learn from an interesting communication to Notes and Queries by Sir J. Emerson Tennent, 109 are mere idolaters, and their idol, no doubt the representative of Priapus, is a long cylindrical stone, which they call Neevougee. This idol is kept wrapped in flannel, and is entrusted to

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the care of an old woman, who acts as the priestess. It is brought out and worshipped at certain periods, when storms disturb the fishing, by which chiefly the population of the island obtain a living, or at other times it is exposed for the purpose of raising storms which may cause wrecks to be thrown on the coast of the island. I am informed that the Name Neevougee is merely the plural of a word signifying a canoe, and it may perhaps have some reference to the calling of fishermen.


195:109 Notes and Queries, for 1852, vol. v, p. 121.