"Ceannbhrat" or Canopy,
By Artists Eithne Ring and Liam Lavery

“Ceannbhrat” or Canopy | 2020 | Primary School-Gaelscoil Bhaile Munna, Dublin, Ireland
Canopy 2.4m high x 3.8m wide x 1.82mm deep Powder coated galvanised steel, Accoya Wood
Front Bench 7.18 m long | Back Bench 5.9m long | Powder coated galvanized  steel, Accoya Wood 
“Ceannbhrat” (Canopy) is the art piece that we created for the newly built Irish (Gaelic) speaking primary school, Gaelscoil Baile Munna, in the north Dublin suburb of Ballymun. The high rise suburb of Ballymun was built in the 1960s and in 1997 “regeneration” proceeded slowly with the demolition of the high rise buildings and replaced with low rise housing and infrastructure. Prior to the building of the new school the pupils were taught in a number of cramped portakabins for more than 20 years and it was the wish of the pupils that an outdoor performance area be created in the new school to replace their “temporary" stage made out of a collection of raised transport pallets. 
With the pupils’ wishes in mind and the need to create an artwork that would work aesthetically and seat up to 30 pupils we knew that it would be a challenge to stretch the budget as far as possible. So by using galvanised steel and Accoya wood we were able to achieve this. The entire steel canopy structure, made in eight sections, and the low bench frames were all fabricated using mild steel and then galvanised. Eight pre-galvanised steel sheets was custom perforated with a series of images depicting a flowing oak tree, various woodland animals, the school-crest and the school-motto that were then cut to shape and secured to the galvanised canopy frame. All the assembled galvanised steel elements were then powder coated. 
Part of the design was to include seating for up to 30 pupils and a teacher and we wanted to use a durable wood with minimum maintenance and this led us to use Accoya. Our choice of Accoya influenced our decision to powdercoat the galvanised steel as it would eliminate direct contact between the two materials. 
The resulting Canopy and the accompanying curved benches sited on the only green area in the school grounds adjacent to the schoolyard has been very successful. Aesthetically it fits into its surroundings very well and on sunny  days  the sun casts playful shadows of the perforated woodland scene onto the seats and ground. 
One of the unforeseen benefits of the Canopy, following its  finally completion in the spring of 2020, just before the first Covid-19 lockdown, was that when the schools eventually re-opened in September 2020 it took on a new function as an outdoor classroom. It is in constant use as a place to gather, relax, perform and learn.
Our decision to choose galvanised steel, with its numerous benefits, enabled us to get the most out of the budget and ultimately be of great long term benefit to the pupils and teachers of Gaelscoil Bhaile Munna. ​​​​​​​
Photographs © Eithne Ring and Liam Lavery
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