The neon Bovril advertisement which once stood high upon a building at the corner of Lower Grafton Street and College Green us fondly remembered by a generation of Dubliners. Apparently young kids, city visitors and tipplers after a night out often went out of their way to head down by Trinity to view this extraordinary wonder as it was unique in that each of its letters lit up in a different colour.
Samuel Beckett’s collection of short prose More Pricks Than Kicks (1934) depicts protagonist Belacqua Shuah’s perception of the misty neon streetscape of College Green outside of Trinity College Dublin:
Bright and cheery above the strom of the Green, as though coached by the Star of Bethlehem, the Bovril sign danced and danced through its seven phases.
The TCD Miscellany made the following humorous observation in a short poem entitled Epitaph in 1951:
Here Lies one who met his fate
Just outside the College Gate;
By darkness saw he sights suburb,
With eyes aloft he left the kerb;
As from beneath the ‘bus they picked him
They murmured ‘Boveril’s latest victim’
Éamonn Mac Thomáis in his classic memoir Me jewel and darlin’ Dublin (1983) wrote that
The first illuminated sign I remember seeing in Dublin was the Bovril sign high over College Green. What a spectacle it provided as it burst into a rainbow of colours.
Does anyone know when the sign was taken down? If you have memories or pictures of the old Bovril sign, let us know.