The Rose Window

Image of the Rose Window, Holy Family Church, Ardara.

One of the most outstanding (and possibly little known) attractions in Ardara is the Evie Hone window in the Holy Family Church.  

Hone was an internationally renowned Dublin born painter and stained glass artist who studied under Walter Sickert. She completed this wonderful window in 1953 just two years before she died.  Her many prestigious commissions include the East Window for the chapel at Eton College and a piece entitled My Four Green Fields which is in Government Buildings in Dublin.

Ardara is lucky enough to be home to this stunning religious artwork entitled the ‘Rose Window.’  Evie Hone herself was happy to carry out this commission, saying she got more satisfaction working on a window for a mountain church than for Washington Cathedral windows or Eton College.  The renowned Tory Island-based artist Derek Hill advised her on the unique commission and the colours she used were inspired by mosaics from Ravenna which she and Hill visited in the spring of 1948.  Her opinion was that the rich green, dark blue, browns and earth colours, reflected the landscape of the North West of Ireland.

The window is an interpretation of the Old and New Testaments with the young Christ at its centre.  The title of the design is ‘Christ among the Doctors’.  It consists of seven panels and embraces the Old and the New Testament.  The small panel in the centre of the rose window shows the boy Jesus addressing the Doctors of the Law.  The Old Testament is represented in the top centre panel by David, playing the harp and in the bottom centre of the panel, by Moses with the Tablets.

The New Testament is represented the  four Evangelists, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John in the four remaining panels.  They are depicted symbolically as living creatures (man, lion, ox and eagle),  a method used in churches since earliest times. 

The visitor to the Church in Ardara will notice the memorial tablet inside the church with the following description: “In memory of Daniel Sweeney (1839-1911) and his wife Mary McGinley (1841-1925)”.

To find out more about Daniel Sweeney from Beagh, Ardara, and his remarkable family, see the accompanying article.