Northern Lens: Poetry & Place

Women of the Ards peninsula worked with community artist, Jane McComb, to use photography not only to document social, maritime, and agricultural legacy of the area, but also to give interpretation to the writings of poet, Louis MacNeice (1907–1963), who is buried locally in Christ Church, Carrowdore.

This activity was part of the “Back to the Future” programme, facilitated by the Institute for Conflict Research, Belfast, which presented a selection of 30 images in a photographic exhibition, “Poetry & Place”, displayed as part of the recent John Hewitt Society’s annual international summer school at Market Place Theatre, Armagh.

In an audio interview, Janet McComb described the genesis of this project. Also, Sheilagh Rainey of the Peninsula Women’s Group explained how her participation “started something in me” and has encouraged her to keep writing prose and poetry:

The “Poetry & Place” exhibition is on display at the Market Place Theatre, Armagh, from 24 July — 2 September 2017.

The project received support from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council; Ards and North Down Borough Council; the Community Relations Council; and the Victims and Survivors Service.

Portrait. Portaferry. © Jane McComb; Nature Morte (Louis MacNeice): “And, by photographing our ghosts, claims to put us at ease.”

The Fishermen of Portaferry. Portaferry. © Jane McComb; Train to Dublin (Louis MacNeice): “And I give you the sea.”

The Old School House. Kearney Village © Jane McComb; Postscript to Iceland (Louis MacNeice): “Great blackbirds that fly alone, Slowly through a land of stone.”

Slans Graveyard. Ballywalter. © Elaine McFeeters; Cradle Song for Eleanor (Louis MacNeice): “Sleep, my darling, sleep.”

Remembering. Ballywalter. © Sheilagh Armstrong; Autumn Journal (Louis MacNeice): “Sleep, my fathers, in your graves.”

Our Childhood Home. Millisle. © Jane McComb; Round the Corner (Louis MacNeice): “Round the corner was always the sea. Our childhood.”

A Sense of Place. Photographs by the Peninsula Women’s Group. Market Place Theatre, Armagh, Northern Ireland.

Bagpipe Music (Louis MacNeice).

Peninsula Women’s Group.

About Allan Leonard

Allan Leonard is a peace builder. He does this through his personal and professional vocations, with learning, exploring, and reporting. Allan's specialism is the politics of Northern Ireland, whose people and land he loves and where he has made his home. He believes in the power of the arts for conflict transformation, through vision, sound, and performance. Allan works for a shared society and a #SharedFuture