Dating buildings using window style
This coincided with a growing interest in classical architecture, spurred on by public building projects such as Dublin’s Royal Hospital at Kilmainham and the gradual reconstruction of Dublin Castle.Windows became taller and narrower in the classical manner, though in some cases, such as the new State Apartments in Dublin Castle or Lord Clancarty’s mansion on College Green, both built in the 1680s, mullions and transoms continued to be used.
Likewise, the availability of technology, such as new developments in glass-making, determined how windows were glazed in certain parts of the country compared with others, while local fondness for a particular type of detail resulted in delightful regional variations within the classical canon of window design.A wander along a typical Irish street can be a feast for the eyes, highlighting the way in which windows are arranged in an elevation, their glazing patterns and detailing, and their opening format – such as sash or casement – all contribute to our collective national architecture that makes us part of who we are and makes our buildings look the way they do.This is especially true of Ireland, where most traditional street architecture and vernacular buildings depend upon basic classical rules of proportion and detailing for their architectural effect, rather than applied decoration that is commonplace in other countries.Larger mullioned windows were deployed sparingly in reception rooms and the great halls of castles and tower houses, but in most cases only small diamond-shaped panes of glass known as ‘quarries’ were used.
These were hosted within leaded metal or timber frames, often fixed in position to ensure the wind did not catch open casements, and were unlikely to be very transparent.
These dwellings regularly displayed ambitious arrays of large windows, indicating not only the confidence of their builders but also the wealth and prestige of their occupants.