Where there’s light, there’s hope

We’ve always found inventive ways to lighten up the darkness that creeps across our evenings when the clocks go back. We counter winter’s longer nights right from the start, at Halloween, when we put candles in pumpkins to create a warm glow from the bright orange that nature so thoughtfully provides, and set off fireworks and “oooh” at the way the black sky provides a perfect backdrop for the dazzling explosives.

At Christmas, the light show steps up, depending on your taste, from simple white twinkly bulbs to outsized plastic santas on rooftops, while businesses club together to string lights above shopping streets (and that’s just pagans and Christians – many cultures add sparks to their winter months, from Diwali, celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Janists, to the Jewish Hanukkah). We often think of lighting as functional but it has aesthetic qualities too and stirs the emotions: look at the crowds who gather to watch Christmas lights being turned on. Companies can use this fact to highlight their brand by turning their buildings into giant lanterns.

A colleague getting a taxi back from Dublin Airport recently heard tales from the Polish driver about the dazzling light shows offered by buildings across the city. He delighted in how they brightened up his night shifts.

Those arriving by boat into Dublin Port at night get the most impressive show. Where once visitors and those returning drove into the city past dim, dark warehouses along the Liffey, now rows of lit buildings – occupied by financiers, law firms, hotels (and not enough apartments) – show that the Celtic tiger did prowl these streets and they offer the idea that where there’s light, there’s hope. Beyond these, the lit tip of the Spire, poking out of O’Connell Street, marks the city centre while the race-track in the sky that is the Aviva Stadium at Lansdowne Road glows to the south.

The Irish Times