Brigid And How We Made Her Cross



Reckless Rainbow is a collective of “designers, artists, engineers, DIY philosophers and visionaries” founded by Shane Sugrue, Art Scheunert and Amy Learmonth.

Art writes:

“A few weeks ago you guys covered the art piece (above) we made on Sandymount strand [Dublin] and how it set sail around our coast. This (top) is the making of video. We have a number of projects lined up for the people of Ireland to enjoy in the coming months.

We have just came back from Burning Man in the [Nevada] Desert where we built a 20ft climbable version of it….

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…our Irish representative art piece in amongt the beautiful madness. As one was in water I thought you guys may want to see it’s journey into fire, as that’s what traditionally happened to the Brigid’s crosses….”


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13 thoughts on “Brigid And How We Made Her Cross

  1. The florist

    A group of lawyer and doctors offsprings who can piss around for a couple if years coz dad will sort it all out later

  2. Art

    See it as art, trash, bunch sticks arranged in a neat little package or a waste of time that distracts one from wasting time on something else with a collectively justified meaning or purpose. Its an experience that a bunch of people shared and put a bit of their life into. What started out as series of sketches and doodles produced by Shane and Amy the conceivers/designers of the piece. They both kept with and eventually grew into something pretty freakin nice and aesthetically pleasing for people to look at, climb on, write on, dance on (insert action word) on…..

    The design is “the why” or “the point” of it….. Creation! A thing is just a thing so why not burn it down

  3. Shane

    Hello there 12 broadsheet commentators,

    I have never in my life posted in an online comments section because i believe it to be petty, counter-productive and cowardly, as very few of you, the world’s highly qualified internet trolls, seem confident enough to use your real names. However, in light of the utterly mundane and poorly informed discussion that seems to be developing around this piece, i would like to address a few small misconceptions.

    I am the designer and co-ordinator of the Brigid’s Crossing project. It is without shame that I put my name to an artwork representative of the rich cultural heritage we enjoy in Ireland, built by an international team of 15 highly skilled individuals, and experienced by 70,000 people at the largest single gathering of artists and creators in the world.

    I will address you each in turn, just so nobody feels left out..

    ‘Count Chukula’:

    Have you ever “envisaged” something? You know, pictured it in your mind’s eye and then attempted to manifest it physically, aurally, visually or emotionally? This is what the creative process engenders. The Reckless Rainbow crew does not subscribe to the empty political rhetoric of the Great Visionary, nor do we pretend to elevate ourselves to anything near the level of humanity’s true visionaries.

    I would point you to the Oxford dictionary:

    1. ‘Thinking about or planning the future with imagination or wisdom’
    2. (archaic) ‘Existing only in a vision or in the imagination’

    Also. You are Irish i presume, an anglophone at the very least. Have you ever heard the phrase “tongue in cheek”? Don’t take yourself too seriously. We don’t.


    This is a very astute observation. By any rational measure, art is entirely pointless. What express purpose does the ‘Mona Lisa’ serve? What is the role of ‘The Lake Isle of Inisfree’ in society? Could we survive without ‘The Thong Song’? Most certainly.

    And yet, we assign such enormous significance to the arts. We cannot imagine life without them. We give over masses of public and private funding to them. Nations compete to have the most eclectic, innovative, imaginative and beautifully produced art available to their citizens. Cities are judges by the splendour of their buildings and the volume of their galleries. Great artists are made immortal alongside great leaders and great thinkers.


    We are moved by art. This is culture. We are human. We have an innate and unquenchable desire to create and recreate our visions. If anything, art is a celebration of its own pointlessness. It brings us joy and sorrow, it makes us FEEL. What’s more, art accumulates cultural meaning over time, it embodies our histories and identities. It reassures us that everyone is in this pointless game together. It gives us solidarity.

    Now suddenly we see the place of ‘Howl’, we find meaning in ‘Guernica’, we are challenged by ‘Dubliners’ and brought together by ‘Arthur McBride’.

    Don’t worry – i am not by any stretch of the imagination elevating Brigid’s Crossing to the level of the great works of art i have mentioned. I am simply explaining why we make things and why we destroy them. It is simply a celebration of humanity.

    Waiting for Godot.

    ‘Holden MaGroin’:

    Again, so astute an observation. The critical thinking in this discussion is truly of a higher calibre. And your screen name – how very imaginative.

    Yes, indeed these are our lives, and we live them unashamedly. As it happens, we also have families, partners, friends, holidays, workdays, sick days, weddings, funerals, bikes, cars, beers and coffees. Y’know, all the usual stuff. Building pointless art in the desert is not a lifelong pursuit, it is an impassioned hobby.


    Thank you. You seem to be among the very few here who understand that we did not build Brigid’s Crossing for the explicit purpose of gaining the acceptance of Broadsheet readers.

    ‘The florist’:

    My my! This comment is truly unwarranted and, unlike any of the other comments, is also personally offensive to each member of the Brigid’s Crossing crew. And how little it has to do with art or creativity or just anything at all really! It would be delightful to know your real name so that we might interact on equal terms. But as you are too cowardly to identify yourself, in spite of your self-righteousness, i’ll just address your unnecessary belittlement directly.

    It is particularly upsetting that you would brand the hard work and dedication of this group of people as “pissing about”. Every single person on this crew is a working professional who made his or her way to Burning Man only by their own means and who contributed to the creation of Brigid’s Crossing only through personal sacrifice.

    If it is specifically I whom you wish to direct your comments at, I would be curious to know just which part of working full-time at a London engineering practice and using every moment of my severely limited spare time to initiate and coordinate a construction project on the far side of the world constitutes pissing about.
    Or if it is one of the other members of the team (whom you seem to know so intimately) that you wish to address, i would like to know whether it is the graphic designers or the electricians, the videographer, the university teacher or the IT specialist, or perhaps it is the carpenter, the sculptor, the musician or the events manager whom you find to be pissing about.

    It is actually quite remarkable that you would have such a comprehensive knowledge of those involved (and their parents), given the fact that the crew included members not only from Ireland, but from Australia, Canada, the US, the UK, the Czech Republic and Chile, with an age range of around 40 years from youngest to eldest.

    Putting aside the rather glaring fact that the professions of the parents of those involved with Brigid’s Crossing are entirely irrelevant, i would point to your (implied) knowledge of some of the people involved as an indication that you too come from the relative comfort of a middle-class upbringing in South Dublin. Bear in mind that i am only taking as much liberty as you in making this unscrupulous assumption. If i am far wide of the mark, i apologise in advance of your sanctimonious retort.

    We have attempted to engage in a process of creative and critical thinking, project management and human interaction. Positivity. You on the other hand have engaged in a process of piggybacking, belittling the imperfect efforts of others and using the fact of their very existence to further your sickly notions of victimhood and complacency. Negativity.

    I advise you to seek grace – and perhaps a grammar textbook.


    Indeed, it was a good waste of timber, just as the Eiffel Tower is a spectacular waste of steel and the Trevi Fountain a beautiful waste of water.

    I have commented already on the wonderful pointlessness of art. If it is architecture you are concerned with, i would point gleefully to the monstrosities that adorn the greater Dublin area in the form of ghost estates, unused railway stations, Merrion apartment complexes and O’Connell Street spires. These are the more extreme examples of a universal principle – everything that is built must ultimately be destroyed. Are the decrepit community baths of Dublin’s coastline a waste? Or are they simply a product of time? What about the sad warehouses of our docklands? A waste of stone? Will those disgusting steel and glass boxes last even a fraction of the time their predecessors did? I would have you consider the fact that the average life-span of new build in Ireland is somewhere between 20 and 60 years. You want wasteful? Look on your own doorstep. We live in a world of short-sighted greed. There is more money to be made from demolition than from a fully occupied “historical” building. Cranes on the skyline mean a healthy economy. That is a broken system. Since when did living, breathing functional buildings become confined to the category of “historical”? Were they designed to be a street-side museum piece?

    If it something “lasting” you are looking for, consider the abstract, not the physical. Which are your fondest memories? Can you still touch them? Feel them? Breath and speak them? Is a song lasting if it is written down but never sung?
    I reiterate, upwards of 70,000 people had the opportunity to climb, enter, write on, jump off, shelter beneath and experience Brigid’s Crossing. Those who took the opportunity were rewarded with the memory of a particular moment.

    How deeply we subscribe to the idea of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Everyday is not your wedding day, but you remain married for life (…in principle at least…). Our experiences become more powerful, more moving, with time. The awareness of impermanence is what makes our experiences beautiful and unique.

    Brigid’s Crossing, like much of the art at Burning Man, acknowledges this impermanence. Many people left messages and tokens of their personal experience there, and these too were burned with the structure. Understand too that this structure existed very clearly in the minds of those responsible for its creation for many many months before the final iteration was constructed. Lasting evidence of the piece is scattered abstractly and figuratively throughout the minds of the team. Burning is ceremonial and cathartic, it creates a more profoundly lasting artwork than any photograph or record could ever convey. In a sense, it is burned into the hearts of the participants who experienced it.

    And if your concern is for the explicit waste of 250 perfectly good lengths of lumber, i would point you to any one of your daily activities as a functioning human being in a developed country in the 21st century. The difference is, we are not in denial.

    And finally, if it is substance you are searching for, i would point you to any of the literature produced as part of the design process for Brigid’s Crossing. The ideas behind the piece are by no means ground-breaking, but by the same token, they do not lack substance.

    I may be wrong, but i am quite certain that we would not have received the support (financial or otherwise) and enthusiasm of so many people had they perceived the piece to lacking in substance. Please get in touch with me if you’d like to know more. In the meantime, i’d point you to this:

    ‘Mick’ has hit the nail on the head. We chose to burn down an artwork of lasting impression and of substance. That was the artists’ prerogative. And thank you for using your real name.

    And finally, Art, Anna, well you know the score. Good art divides opinion. Poor art is inconsequential. If this artwork has divided opinion i am pleased.

    For those who have never even attempted to engage the creative process, or who wish simply to belittle your peers in their own attempts to do so, that is merely your shame. Your comments are duly dismissed by all those who have put their time, energy and wonderful talents into this project.

    Much love.

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