Christmas and the artist

the cardboard crib
the cardboard box crib

Everyone is so busy getting ready for Christmas at this stage but spare a thought for the Syrian refugees – with no place to stay.  My old friends will have heard this before but I thought that I’d share a previous post with you again, one that I wrote a few years ago…

They asked me to build a crib for the local church and I built it out of cardboard boxes.  My thinking was that if Mary and Joseph came to Dublin today and, if there was ‘no room at the inn’, they might end up trying to construct some sort of rudimentary shelter out of discarded cardboard boxes. It must’ve been desperately worrying for them, about to have a baby and no place to stay…

But in my case, since the crib figures were stored in cardboard boxes, I simply stacked up the boxes and stretched a roll of corrugated cardboard over the top to make a roof.  I added old newspapers for insulation (these happened to be from the property pages of the Irish Times, hee hee). But once I added the straw, it definitely looked like a crib.  Nice.

Well no, not nice. The flower arrangers weren’t happy. The church cleaners weren’t happy. The church gardener wasn’t happy, and goodness knows who else wasn’t happy. Now of course, not everyone complained – but would you believe that some people started a petition to have it removed from the church! Why weren’t these ones happy? I reckon it was the ivy, or should I say: the lack of ivy.  A traditional crib has ivy, lots of ivy, running up and down the walls, draping over the roof, all around where the shepherds stand (or so they tell me). But I dunno, I would say that it’s the straw that makes the crib. Once I put the straw there, it just felt like a crib. I got this big bag of straw from a farm in South Kilkenny. It smelt lovely.  Do you think it needs ivy?

PS: I suppose this crib came about because I’ve been making art on the theme of Homelessness during the last few years. You can see more of that art at:

But now, here’s a treat for you –  an old Irish carol, performed by Altan in Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin… please click into the blog to hear it, – and don’t forget to leave a comment!



  1. Great piece Eoin, very moving. We have lots of people from the middle east looking for peace and a safe place to call home at the moment, your piece is a powerful reminder to us all.


  2. Ar ndóigh ní raibh daoine sásta le hÍosa i dteach Dé dó, mar shampla nuair a leigheas sé an fear leis an láimh seargtha ar an Sabóid, nó nuair a chuir sé an ruaig ar lucht díolta sa teampall, so ní tusa amháin nach raibh ‘naofa’ a dhóthain!


  3. I love it! – can’t imagine why anyone would be offended. I feel specially bonded to Our lady at this time because I also delivered one of my own children alone. It was a joyous event and not frightening as people suppose.
    Bless you and your work


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