Photographer Daragh Muldowney has been travelling to Lake Baikal, Siberia, the largest freshwater lake on the planet, for the past three years, compiling work for his exhibition Beacons, which documents his many trips to this area of breath-taking natural beauty - view a gallery of images from Beacons above. 

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Listen: Daragh Muldowney talks Beacons on RTÉ Arena

Lake Baikal is one of the most biodiverse places on earth, a home to thousands of species of plants and animals, many of which are endemic to the region. In winter, temperatures drop as low as -40°C and the lake becomes a vast frozen plain. Crossing the lake can be a hazardous journey as the ice comes under huge pressure causing it to either break apart exposing the frigid water below or crush together creating large jagged hummocks. To help travellers across the ice, the locals mark out an ice road by drilling holes and 'planting' small pine trees that act as markers, ‘beacons’ guiding the way. 

While capturing the images for Beacon, Darragh witnessed first hand how global warming is affecting communities in extreme temperatures each winter, documenting the joys and perils that he encountered - like his van going up in flames and getting stranded on the vast icy lake in minus 25-degree temperature...

Beacons is at The Copperhouse Gallery, Dublin, until 14 April 2021 (viewing by appointment only), with an accompanying photobook available now - find out more here.