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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 2°C

5 of Dublin's hidden hand-painted ghost signs - and where to see them for yourself

Dublin has no shortage of ghost signs – but have you spotted them?

MOST OF US are guilty of keeping our heads in our phones as we walk from A to B, and in turn we can miss out on the eye-catching things around us.

Emma Clarke from Dublin Ghost Signs is working to combat this by sharing the capital’s changing streetscapes on Instagram (@dublinghostsigns) and on her website

“I’m fascinated by how the city changes and evolves around us,”she tells “Often, we don’t tend to notice the traces of the past which are hidden in plain sight.”

Below, Emma rounded up five of her favourite hand-painted signs around the capital – as well as where you can see them for yourself. 

1. Brothers Merchants

Just last week, this amazing Brothers Merchants ghost sign was revealed under the railway bridge on Store Street. A search of old street directories indicates that the sign was for McGowan Brothers – iron, metal and machinery merchants who operated out of 14-18 Store Street.

g1 Dublin Ghost Signs / Instagram Dublin Ghost Signs / Instagram / Instagram

2. Thos Maguire & Sons

Thomas and Elizabeth Maguire raised 11 children (and a horse, a goat, chickens and racing pigeons) at number 56 Clanbrassil Street. This sign was painted around 1950 by their son Terry Maguire with the help of his brothers George and Bob. 

 3. Hugh Jordan & Co

This sign on Mark’s Lane is an example of a palimpsest: a sign which has been written on top of another sign with traces of the original sign still seen.

 4.  Columbia Mills

Built in the 1890s, the facade of this building on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay is protected, which is lucky since there is so much development in this area. In the 1980s and 1990s Columbia Mills was a club and its bar was used in a scene in The Commitments.

5.  Arko Amusements

Some of the best ghost signs are hidden in alleyways, which is probably why they’ve survived. This one is down a laneway between Abbey Street and Eden Quay. In the 1950s, it was home to an illicit gambling scam which was busted during a Garda sting operation!

More: 9 of Dublin’s most photographed doors – and where to find them>

More: 9 places to take magical photos of Irish night skies, according to a photographer

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