End of an era as iconic Nationwide sign is removed
IT STOOD above the country's best-known thoroughfare for decades and was an icon of Irish banking. But last night the huge green neon letters of the Irish Nationwide sign on the corner of O'Connell Street and Eden Quay, Dublin, were dismantled and taken down.
The removal of the sign, which spanned the width of an entire building, marked the closing of another visible chapter in Ireland's painful banking story.
But according to the man charged with its removal, last night's operation also represented the closing of a chapter in Irish advertising history,
"There's been a lifetime of work between fitting it and taking it down," Jim O'Reilly of Signage Visuals said last night as his workers took down the letters with a cherry picker.
Mr O'Reilly designed the sign with pencil and paper in 1968, "long before the age of computers".
"We've refurbished it three or four times in the last 40 years so it's kind of sad to see it come down because there are very few of them left, it is one of the iconic signs around, there used to be a lot of these neon signs but they are gone, this is the last one."
Over the past month Mr O'Reilly's company has removed all advertising features from Irish Nationwide's 49 branches . They closed last month when Irish Nationwide's savings and investment business transferred to Permanent TSB .