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Tuesday 28 November 2023 Dublin: 3°C
glow up

Bright lights, big city: 12 of Dublin's coolest neon signs (including some unexpected gems)

The locations lighting up the capital after dark, from a butcher’s window to a burger joint.

WALKING AROUND A city, it can be easy to overlook the bright and colourful signage in our midst. However, Dublin has a rich collection of neon signs – new and old – that most definitely warrant a second look. 

Aesthetically pleasing and eminently Instagrammable, here are some signs to keep an eye out for on your next nighttime wander around the city. 

1. Why Go Bald?, George’s Street, Dublin 2

Arguably the best known neon sign in the capital. Designed by Taylor Signs, it has taken pride of place above the Universal Hair & Scalp Clinic on George Street for several decades.

For years, it was left in a state of disrepair until a preservation group called 20th Century Trust stepped in and called for it to be restored. After being ably repaired by Taylor Signs, it was switched on once more in 1999 and has been lighting up the city centre ever since. 

2. Bar Rua, Clarendon Street, Dublin 2

Since opening in 2016, the neon sign outside Bar Rua has become an essential part of the street landscape. Designed by Dublin Neon, the text translates to ‘Talk, kiss, laugh, travel, dance, fly, eat, drink, listen’. Solid advice and a lovely way of incorporating the Irish language into everyday signage. 

3. Hogan’s Butchers, Wexford Street, Dublin 2 

A red neon sign reading ‘baby’ might seem a little incongruous when placed against this meaty backdrop, but there is something charmingly old-school about this Wexford Street butcher’s window display. 

4. Rick’s, Dame Street, Dublin 2

The distinctive red and blue sign outside Rick’s is a familiar sight to many Dubliners. With its typeface and colour scheme, the sign evokes an old-time diner and serves as a North Star for the city’s drunk and hungry masses. 

5. The Happy Ring House, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1

Situated above McDowell’s Jewellers on O’Connell Street, this sign is a lovely slice of old Dublin. Designed by Gaelite and erected in 1952, it shows a newlywed couple perched underneath a glistening diamond ring, wedding bells and the phrase ‘Happy Ring House’. Some things never go out of style.  

6. Come In and Visit, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1 

Across from the Happy Ring House is this fluorescent sign above Funland Amusements reading ‘Come In and Visit’ surrounded by a border. Short, sweet and to the point. 

7. Tropical Popical, South William Street, Dublin 2

Not only is Tropical Popical a haven of relaxation and craic, it is also home to one of the most striking neon signs in the city. With a ‘T’ in the shape of a palm tree and multicoloured lettering, it practically beckons you inside for an impromptu manicure and Lilt. 

8. Kehoe’s, South Anne Street, Dublin 2

Outside Kehoe’s on South Anne Street is this delightfully gaudy and retro sign that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. You had us at wine and spirits.   

9. Mad Egg, Charlotte Way, Dublin 2 

It might still be a relatively new addition to Dublin’s culinary scene but Mad Egg’s outdoor signage has won a special place in the hearts of many Dubliners. Indeed the restaurant has a thing for neon signs. Inside is a sign reading, ‘Get Laid. Get Fed.’ Oi, cheeky. 

10. Irish Film Institute, Dublin 2

The back entrance to the Irish Film Institute features this delightful neon sign, which makes one feel like they’re walking through 1970s New York. 

11. Good Vibrations, Capel Street, Dublin 1

Lurking above Good Vibrations on Capel Street is a glorious pink neon sign reading, ‘Rock’. Picture perfect. 

12. The Hill, Ranelagh, Dublin 6

One of the best examples of a neon sign outside a pub is The Hill in Dublin 6. A fixture in the neighbourhood since 1845, the pyramid text atop the building ensures it stands out for miles. 

More: From flats to nightclubs: An insider guide to 7 overlooked art deco gems around Dublin>

More: From cheese to chimichurri: 22 innovative Dublin restaurants changing the way we eat in 2019>

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