About the Beara Blacksmith

I am taking my inspiration from simply looking around me. The wild Atlantic Ocean, the unchangeable Caha Mountains, the Beara Peninsula as a rock reaching out into the wild Atlantic Ocean.

My passion to form and work with red-hot metal runs in my family. Being the third generation blacksmith in my family, gave me an early understanding that metal is not only strong, tough and hard. I was amazed by the way it can be soft and it can be formed by the smith into almost any shape, if it is heated to the temperature it needs to show its soft side. I think this is quite often forgotten when we look at metal or a metal sculpture and we see it as rather cold, rigid and unchangeable in its expression. I was passed on a passion to look at metal in its different stages while being heated in the forge fire and to understand that metal is kind of asleep when it is cold, but when it is heated in the blacksmith’s forge it starts to wake and it is fully awake when it is red-hot. It is ready to allow its shape to be changed with the help of the sculptor. To be taught to look at metal like that opened my mind to shape metal intuitively and gave me a deeper appreciation of how expressive metal can be. So even working on a metal sculpture in the ancient way with only a hammer, anvil and my hands, which can be at times physically tiring, I always experience forging as an interaction of a strong, not easily impressed, material, with its sculptor whom the metal allows to form it by letting him see its colour.

Beara is an endless inspiration
for anybody who is willing to feel it.

Reinhard Waschkowitz – The Beara Blacksmith

About the Beara Peninsula

The Atlantic Ocean is in a never ending dance sculpting the Beara Peninsula day and night. Sculpting its rugged expression of today and its mystical creation of tomorrow. Beara is an endless inspiration for every artist, for anybody who is willing to feel it.

I was born and raised in Germany, where I qualified as an Art-Blacksmith in the early 80’s. After working in Germany and having my own forge there, I decided to go on the ‘Wanderschaft’ – an old tradition for crafts-people to travel and work away from home. I took the path of the independent ‘Wanderschaft’ and added my own touch to it. I worked in Austria, Spain, Australia and New Zealand, as well as getting totally side-tracked for a couple of years by free-climbing and windsurfing. After this free and independent time of my life I visited Ireland, after hearing so much about its beauty from another Blacksmith I worked for in Australia. After arriving in Cork I started to travel up the Atlantic coast. When I came to the Beara Peninsula, I was totally impressed by its rugged coastline, mountains and its friendly people. Right from the beginning, Beara had a very special and unusual feeling of being untamed. On the top of Hungry Hill, I was fascinated by the feeling of open space. Overlooking Bantry Bay, Kenmare River and the Caha Mountains, I simply could not get enough of this beautiful view. By then I had seen a good few beautiful places around the globe, but this was one of the most impressive places I had ever been to. I decided to stay for a while and found an old cottage at the foot of Hungry Hill. This ‘little while’ is now over 30 years ago.

About Forging

Each sculpture or piece of jewellery has to be brought repeatedly to a red heat in the blacksmith’s fire while being expertly forged into their individual forms. The Beara Blacksmith follows only the ancient techniques of hand forging to capture the unchanging integrity of the Atlantic Ocean in his unique pieces. By only using a hand hammer and an anvil, the Beara Blacksmmith allows the metal to naturally transform into the unique pieces of art you see in front of you.