‘The quality of the light’


Sir, – Further to An Irishman’s Diary (“Glowing terms”, January 17th), Frank McNally wonders if there’s anything other than pretension to the phrase “the quality of the light”.

Writing in 1843, in The Irish Sketch Book, William Makepeace Thackeray, author of Vanity Fair, among other clasic novels, wrote of how the Irish hills possessed “quite a different colour” to those in England, and admired their “different shadows and lights”. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – I would like to remind Frank McNally of the superb light in the Burren. The reason for that unique light lies in the fact that the light from the Atlantic is enhanced by being reflected from the bare limestone pavements, without any overshading shrubbery interrupting this area of minimal air pollution, as the many species of algae will demonstrate. – Yours, etc,


Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare.

Sir, – Perhaps Michael Bond agrees with Frank McNally, having created a bear who hails from “darkest Peru”. – Yours, etc,



Co Monaghan.

Sir, – Frank McNally is a runner, a group of people at risk of noticing little except “personal bests”, “feeling the burn” and “hitting the wall”. He should take up walking and let a little light in. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – Frank McNally’s curiosity has been aroused as to where the best-quality light is in Ireland. I can certainly tell him where it is not – under the so-called energy-saving halogen lightbulbs currently forced on us. I have to get my Crosaire completed early in the day in order to avail of the natural light, otherwise the clues fade into the gloom. – Yours, etc,



Co Louth.