The Poulnabrone Bouncy Dolmen

Artist Name(s) Jim Ricks
Artwork title The Poulnabrone Bouncy Dolmen

A monumental inflatable replica sculpture, twice the scale of the 6,000 year old megalithic portal tomb of the same name, located in the Burren, Co. Clare

The Poulnabrone Bouncy Dolmen by Jim Ricks is designed for members of the public, of all ages, to interact with. The artwork will be touring venues around the Aughty Region of County Galway during the spring of 2011. This is supported by Galway County Council.

The Poulnabrone Bouncy Dolmen is a replica, at twice the scale, of the famous 6,000 year old megalithic portal tomb of the same name, which is located in the Burren, Co. Clare. Jim Ricks created the interactive soft sculpture with the intention of bringing a portal dolmen to Aughty, a region which has no dolmens, only wedge tombs.

It was essential that the delivery of the tour stick to the concepts and integrity of the sculpture itself. As such, it was the artist's goal to tour The Poulnabrone Bouncy Dolmen "in an accessible, witty, and visually arresting way." In keeping with the project's intention of combining icons of past and present, the success of the piece and its dissemination resided somewhere in the territory between suburban backyard entertainment and the mystique of ancient Ireland embodied in a megalithic tomb tourist destination.

Locations for the work to be sited are selected directly by the artist. Initial considerations were, of course, practical details. These include property ownership, distance from electrical power points, ground surface and visibility. A consideration for a diversity of locations was also important; some sites may be remote and others quite prominent. Artistic concerns were considerable and were based primarily on how to highlight the core concepts of the work, i.e. a critique of branding and identity in Ireland today. Subjective aesthetic considerations were also involved. Sites include being near or in front of: a church, an actual megalithic tomb, a Celtic Tiger era hotel, a remote field, a motorway, an unfinished building site, an old cottage, a primary school, in the woods, etc.



Irish Times:

Galway Advertiser:
"The artist has combined an icon of ancient Ireland with an icon of con- temporary Ireland, playfully re-presenting elements of Irish culture, often over-used commercially to attract tourism, in an accessible, witty, and visually arresting way." –Kernan Andrews, Galway Advertiser

The Clare Champion:


Born in California, Jim Ricks received his MFA from the National University of Ireland, Galway and Burren College of Art programme and his BFA from the California College of the Arts.

Ricks has exhibited nationally and internationally. He recently exhibited with The Black Mariah for the Terminal Convention, Cork, 2011. In 2010 he received the Artlink ‘New Art Award’; exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy (Dublin); had solo shows at Fort Dunree (Co. Donegal), Occupy Space (Limerick) and Pallas Contemporary Projects (Dublin); took part in group shows with Dock Discourse at 126 and offsite (Galway), The Galway Arts Festival (Galway), Monster Truck Temple Bar (Dublin) and Pallas Contemporary Projects (Dublin). In 2009 he exhibited in the Galway Arts Centre (Galway), Monster Truck Gallery (Dublin), IMOCA (Dublin) and participated in Frieze Projects’ COPYSTAND: Autonomous Manufacturing Zone (London).

Ricks is working on the touring public works Poulnabrone Bouncy Dolmen and In Search of the Truth (The Truth Booth), a collaboration with Cause Collective (US) in 2011.

In addition, Ricks is involved in many visual arts organisations, proposals and events in Galway. He was chairperson and curator of 126, Artist-run gallery (Galway) from 2007 – 2009, is a founding member of Adapt Galway (a coalition of visual arts organisations), is a member of the Féach Steering Committee (a proposal for a contemporary visual arts centre in Galway), manages Engage Art Studios (Galway) and has organised and curated numerous other exhibitions.

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name Galway County Council Arts Office
Commissioning process Part of a curated programme
Project commission dates May 31, 2010 - September 30, 2010
Public Presentation dates March 31, 2011 - May 31, 2011
Artform Visual Arts
Art Practice Arts Participation
Funded By Galway County Council
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 0 - 10000 euro
Project commission start date 31/05/2010
Project commission end date 30/09/2010
Location The Aughty region of Southeast Galway
County Galway
Content contributor(s) Jim Ricks
Relationship to project Artist 
Public engagement

Residents of the Aughty region



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