Shining a light on windows…

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Sara Hosford
October 15, 2019

Inspired by my new workplace’s beautiful bay window, I have been reflecting (pardon the pun!) on the benefits and beauty of natural light, and the shapes, sizes, and materials that frame it.

‘Doors of Dublin’ is a popular postcard option from many a gift store but what about Irish windows? … a quick Google has not revealed a whole pile… but I have dug a little deeper…

What is the purpose of a window? Why do they merit any attention at all? For me, they encapsulate a wonderful blend between functionality and beauty… from both the outside in and inside out!

1. And let there be Light!

Any quick search will highlight the immense benefits of natural light. It boosts Vitamin D, leads to higher levels of productivity, benefits vision, helps us sleep at night, raises our mood. The pros are countless, and yet according to the Harvard Business Review, one-third of employees don’t feel like they get enough. For the MICE Industry, natural daylight is just as important and a top priority for Meeting and Event Organisers. Event venues with natural light help create a more pleasant environment for attendees, ensuring they are alert, focused and positive, ready to soak up all the wonderful content you’ve prepared.

For me, thanks to Soolnua and this light-giving bay window, I am sure to remain upbeat and proactive for the foreseeable future!

Soolnua's Bay Window

2. A Room with a View

If we ignore its light-giving generosity, a window’s additional function may be the framing of a magnificent view. If I think of my own experiences in hotels across Ireland, 3 immediately come to mind as windows that ‘WOW’ for the view they encapsulate. Am I a sucker for sea views? Probably. But who isn’t?

Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Waterford
Breakfast at the Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Waterford
The Europe, Killarney
Meeting at the Europe, Killarney, Kerry
Suite at The Trident Hotel, Kinsale, Cork
Suite at The Trident Hotel, Kinsale, Cork

These windows are demure, but they allow the view to shine. It reminds me of the phrase “Behind every good man is a great woman…” but instead, it’s “In front of every breathtaking view, is the window that frames it!”

3. Aesthetics

No doubt that windows are functional, but they also hold the potential to be incredibly beautiful in their own right. Ireland punches above its weight in this regard with the world-renowned Harry Clarke…

Stained Glass Heritage

Born on Saint Patrick’s Day, Harry was the son of a decorator and began his artistic career in this vein. By his mid 30’s he had become one of the most sought after stained glass artists in Europe, and although plagued with ill-health and a short life, he has left a legacy and revered portfolio across Ireland and the globe. Clarke believed that art was for everyone. Have you appreciated any of his work? My first introduction to Harry Clarke was in St. Barrahane’s church in the rural village of Castletownhend, Cork. You can also enjoy his work in Dublin, in the famous Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street. Honestly, what better place for inspiration than sipping a flat white at the feet of a local artistic genius? Bring your pen and paper, and let inspiration flow!

Detail from Harry Clarke's St Luke Window at St Barrahanes Church, Castletownshend, Cork
Detail from Harry Clarke’s St Luke Window at St Barrahanes Church, Castletownshend, Cork

Sash, Palladian, Fanlight, Casement, Eyebrow

A window doesn’t have to hold stained-glass to be pleasing in its own right. Much like people, windows come in many shapes and sizes! My personal preference has to be the Georgian sash window. Seeing them always brings me back to childhood and picking raspberries around my Grandparents’ house. I love how symmetrical they are, divided into two, and then again into smaller, equally balanced, panes. Somehow they always seem to imbue a sense of elegant sagacity to me, like an old lady who’s lived through many things… these windows have stood the test of time. In Ireland we’re lucky to have many superb heritage hotels boasting such windows, the Merrion and Shelbourne hotels springing to mind immediately… ideal places to slip back in time and enjoy some old-world charm for a while.

Princess Grace Suite at the Shelbourne Hotel
Princess Grace Suite at the Shelbourne Hotel

In summary, let’s appreciate our windows some more! They bring us mood-boosting light, they highlight our incredible views, and they have the potential to hold artistic beauty within their very frames and panes!

Look up, look out, and take it all in.

Throw open your window and let the scenery of clouds and sky enter your room!

Yosa Buson

I feel that it is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.     

Bill Withers

Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.

Edith Wharton
City Skyline by Fabrizio Verrecchia
Image by Fabrizio Verrecchia
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About SoolNua

SoolNua is a specialist MICE agency helping destinations, hotels and venues with strategy, marketing and training based on 6 decades of expertise as global leaders in the industry.

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