Ireland’s first ever animated neon sign has been restored to its former glory for the first time in 13 years.
The iconic McDowells Happy Ring House sign on Dublin’s O’Connell Street has been given a new lease of life after it was partially funded by Dublin City Council.
It was created and erected in 1952 by sign experts Gaelite – and 69 years later, the firm was called back to restore it after it fell into disrepair in 2008.
The restoration project began in September, involving the removal of existing neon tubing for testing to use as templates for replacements, before sections of the letters and symbols where rust had caused damage were re-soldered or replaced.
The final phase saw installation of new 18mm diameter white neon border tubes, featuring a ring, horseshoes and a couple, all re-electroded and re-pumped with neon, as well as “Happy Ring House” text using the existing tubes.
Four-way and one-way flasher lights added to animated sections of the display complete the sign.
I know lots of couples will have many fond memories of seeing it down through the years, and I hope many more happy memories can be created there in the future.Alison Gilliland
The lights were officially turned on by Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alison Gilliland, who said the council is determined to bring O’Connell Street back to its former glory.
Ms Gilliland said: “I’m delighted to see the ‘Happy Ring House’ sign return to its iconic status, too.
“I know lots of couples will have many fond memories of seeing it down through the years, and I hope many more happy memories can be created there in the future.”
Weir & Sons Jewellers acquired fourth-generation family firm McDowells Jewellers last year, vowing to continue the “Happy Ring House” legacy.
Nicola McDowell, a grandniece of former boss Jack McDowell, is still involved in the day-to-day running of the store.
The designer jeweller plans to expand to a new watch store next door at Number 4, which will almost double the retail space.
It also plans a new transactional website, allowing people all over the world to purchase a gift from McDowells.
Chris Andrews, managing director said: “McDowells Jewellers are pleased to be part of the future of O’Connell Street’s rejuvenation.”