Light shines on the eternal soul

Geoff Ward
4 min readJun 27
… a rocky perch by the old famine road, in the valley, woven green and bister, Glanmore’s river tumbles from high loughs, the wind rises over brauny Laskabane, steels the breath … (Photo: Kip Lott ©).

Reflections on ‘The Beara Light’ photographic exhibition held in the coastal village of Allihies on the Beara peninsula, south-west Ireland, in June 2023

Art, and specifically its relation to nature, might turn out to be the last bastion against the dehumanisation of the world.

There are pernicious forces at work in society at the present time, forces that would take away our freedoms and human rights. But nothing is more threatening to tyranny — and potentially world-transforming — than that which implements the unfolding of creativity in the minds and hands of artists.

I’m reflecting on the testimony to this borne out by the work of acclaimed American photographer and artist Kip Lott which was shown at an exhibition in which I collaborated this month (June 2023) at an art gallery on the shores of the Beara peninsula in the far south-west of Ireland.

Kip’s photographic art, immersed here in nature and history, is symbolic of the stand for freedom that art can make — its encouragement of a special kind of response, a kind of mystical activism, a spiritual intelligence, needed to withstand the undermining of humanity, its representation of light against darkness.

My role was to write a short prose-poem inspired by each of the photographs included in the exhibition — two of which are shown here — and in a series of accompanying limited edition books (quickly sold out), both of which are entitled ‘The Beara Light’ and celebrate these enchanting horizons along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

Kip is originally from Texas and now divides his time between Beara, where I live, and southern France. He first came to Beara in 2016 to photograph a story about the Wild Atlantic Way for an American travel magazine.

We happened to meet for the first time at a music session in a bar in the fishing port of Castletownbere, and got talking — I was immediately envious because he came from Austin, Texas, the music capital of the American South West — and the idea of a book of photographs of Beara, accompanied by poetical epigraphs, developed from there.

Geoff Ward

Writer, poet, tutor and mentor in literature and creative writing (MA and BA Hons degrees in English literature), book editor, journalist and musician.