'Happy Ring House' sign restored

Ireland’s first-ever animated neon sign has been restored for the first time in 13 years.

The 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.

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.