Manannán Mac Lír: Pagan ‘hate crime’ story goes viral

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The Sentinel reached a truly global audience this week with its report on a pagan priest’s claim that the theft of an Irish sea god statue should be treated as a hate crime.

The story, after reaching the self-proclaimed ‘front page of the internet’ on reddit.com, clocked up well over 85,000 page impressions from over 80,000 unique users. A time-lapse video showing sculptor Darren Sutton creating the beautiful statue was also watched 23,000 times.

A statue of Celtic sea god Manannán Mac Lír went missing from Gortmore Point at Binevenagh last week and a wooden cross bearing the words ‘you shall have no other Gods before Me’ was left in its place. Pagan priest Patrick Carberry said the theft should be treated as a hate crime against people of his religion.

A Sentinel report on the theft and the calls for it to be treated as a hate crime was this week posted to the website reddit.com, one of the most visited websites on the planet with a daily audience which often exceeds seven million.

It quickly gained attention in the website’s world news section, and had reached the self proclaimed ‘front page of the internet’ by Monday afternoon.

Here at the Sentinel, we noticed a huge spike in traffic as readers from all over the world flocked to our website.

For those unfamiliar with reddit, it is a site where users share either text, pictures, videos, news articles or other online content.

The Sentinel story quickly went truly viral.

The reaction to the story from the hordes of reddit users, who describe themselves as ‘redditors’ was often quite humorous.

One user, known as okonlyonce, wrote: “Je suis Manannán Mac Lír”.

Another said: “Sigh, no one takes us pagans seriously anymore.”

The overall tone of the comments, which are later ranked by reddit users by either ‘upvoting’ or ‘downvoting’, was quite sympathetic to the views expressed by Mr Carberry, who described himself to this newspaper as ‘Traditional Celtic Shamanic priest’.

One redditor said: “Hmm, I wonder if they noticed THOU SHALT NOT STEAL in the same book.”

In response, another wrote: “Literally in the same set of commandments” while another redditor added: “In the same chapter even. It’s like two sentences away”

On a more serious note, an outraged redditor said: “I just want to say that as a Christian I find this disgusting. Where is the love in disrespecting another persons religion? People are allowed to believe and do as they see fit.

“God doesn’t impose on our free will so why do they think its ok for them to impose on anothers free will? Unaccepting Christians really get on my nerves.”

Elsewhere in the comments thread, another redditor said: “Its even more than that. The statue was not put up at the behest of pagans, it’s there to honour part of Irish mythology and culture than has gone alongside christianity for 1600 years perfectly fine. It was the christian monks themselves that wrote down all the old legends and did so with affection.”