Soldiers find missing Celtic sea-god statue in Co Derry forest

Before the theft ... Mannanan Mac Lir statue

Before the theft ... Mannanan Mac Lir statue

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Soldiers have found a six-foot sculpture of a Celtic sea god which disappeared from a mountainside in Northern Ireland.

Manannan Mac Lir, which is made out of fibre glass and stainless steel, was stolen from Binevenagh Mountain near Limavady in County Derry last month.

It was recovered in Binevenagh Forest by troops from the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment who were on a weekend training exercise, an MoD spokesman said.

The statue - designed by Dungannon sculptor Darren Sutton - had became a popular tourist attraction in the area since it was constructed about a year earlier.

Sculptor John Sutton, who has worked on the Game Of Thrones fantasy series, has spoken of his shock at the disappearance.

An MoD spokesman said: “Soldiers from the 2 Royal Irish on a training exercise recovered the statue in Binevenagh Forest this afternoon. Police have been informed.”

The soldiers are based at Newtownabbey in Co Antrim, north of Belfast.

Manannan Mac Lir is a sea deity in Irish mythology and is also said to have been the first ruler of the Isle of Man.