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that church look

Why stained-glass windows aren't just for churches...

To find out a bit about getting stained glass put into the home, spoke to Sean Finlan from Rathmines Glass.

WHILE STAINED-GLASS might not be the obvious choice for a housing upgrade – it does bring something a bit different.

The style of glass work has been in existence for around 1,000 years and in that time has mostly featured in churches, later becoming a popular domestic feature during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

To find out more about how it is used today and how best to feature it in your home, spoke to Sean Finlan from Rathmines Glass.

What are the main benefits of getting stained glass put into your house?

If you are getting it put into your front door then it is a focal point. When you walk in through your front garden or if people are coming to visit you then it is what they see straight away you know.

And do people go for a classical church look or are the designs personalised?

You can personalise them but people would look at the period of the house. If it is Georgian or whatever it may be people like to kind of stick with designs that are in keeping with the area. Especially around Rathmines, Terenure, Rathgar – those kinds of areas.

So it’s more popular in certain parts of Dublin?

For sure. The houses around Rathmines and stuff like that – they would of had stained glass from the get go. Over the years we have landlords and stuff who have taken over the houses and they have taken them out because they can be problematic in terms of rental houses.

6029467474_6a8eceb593_z An example of stained-glass work in Rathmines Dublin City Council / Flickr Dublin City Council / Flickr / Flickr

If you have people slamming doors who don’t really give a damn about them – you end up with a lot of breakages and they can be expensive to repair once they’ve gotten to the stage where they have to be rebuilt and that’s something that we do.

And are people bothered with trying to conserve stained glass?

Oh yeah, especially now.

I was just out in Clontarf there and there are ten houses that all have the same stained glass in the front door and side panels. One lady had bought a former rental house so the glass was taken out. I am after being out there measuring to put in what was originally there, you know.

How long does it take to make a stained glassed window?

Well, it depends on what detail is in it, you know? It depends on the detail and how many pieces and what kind of design it is.

leading up a window Iko Studio Glass Iko Studio Glass

So say a piece of glass above the hall door?

Well it could take two to three days or a week, it depends on the detail.

And would some designs be more intricate than others?

Oh yeah, definitely. You have to price according to the drawing and the detail involved. You might use antique glass as well, which would be more expensive again.

Would the colouration of the glass change the mood of a room?

It can definitely. If you have a nice landing window and you put a nice red and blue or something like that onto it and you get the sunshine on it, you will get that into your hallway and into your landing.

Is there a danger of losing some of heat from a room?

Well, yes. You can encase them inside double-glaze windows – although we don’t recommend it and can kind of take away from the appearance.

Although with heat costs the way they are now – people are going down that road in some cases. Traditionalists just want to keep it single glazed though. We are doing a lot of bay windows, specifically the opening windows, the little ones on top. We would be encasing them inside double glazing.

What you have seen anything particularly unusual in the past few years?

We do a lot of church work as well – so we would have seen a lot of Harry Clarke (the famous Irish stained-glass artist) windows and stuff like that. We’ve been down the country to do several jobs in churches so, not really unusual but some beautiful work, you know.

Sean Finlan’s tips if you’re thinking about getting stained glass

  • Matching the work that already exists in your local area can be a good idea. 
  • A piece of stained glass can take up to a week to make.
  • It can work well as a feature at the top of a bay window.
  • Stained glass at the front of your house can be a good focal point.
  • It can be expensive to replace and is a bad idea for a rental property.

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