Savoy Cinema

16-19 Upper O'Connell Street,
Dublin I

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Savoy Cinema

The Savoy Cinema opened on 29th November 1928 with “On With the Show”, and was the greatest Atmospheric style cinema in Ireland. The 2,900 seat interior was fitted out in a Venetian theme with the Doge’s Palace painted on the fire curtain (a stage and dressing rooms were part of the project), the prosceniun arch was in the style of a bridge over a canal, and the side walls were decorated with faux Venetian windows, doors and balconies. It was designed by architect F.C. Mitchell and was built for Associated Irish Cinemas, a subsidiary of Associated British Cinemas(ABC). The Savoy Cinema was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/14Rank theatre organ.

It was taken over by the independent Elliman Group in 1939, and in 1946 it was taken over by Odeon (Ireland) Ltd. The auditorium was renovated in 1960 by the Rank Organisation, which destroyed the Atmospheric decorations, replacing it with a modern contemporary style. It was twinned in 1969 and tripled in 1975. In 1979, it became a five-screen cinema.

The Classically styled exterior still dominates O'Connell Street (virtually opposite the former Carlton Cinema – closed), and remains a popular cinema in Dublin despite the existance of a couple of multiplexes. It underwent a renovation in 2005 and the largest screen, which seats 780, still hosts the occasional film premiere.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 9, 2005 at 12:36 pm

The Savoy opened on 29th November 1929. The Venetian Atmospheric style auditorium was designed by interior designer W.E. Greenwood.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 3, 2006 at 12:28 pm

A close-up of the entrance to the Savoy Cinema as seen in June 2006:

irishcine on March 30, 2009 at 6:19 am

The largest cinema here was host to a heated special meeting of the Bank of Ireland last Friday, with overflow accomodation used to seat the generally disaffected shareholders. This might be a relatively profitable new line of business for large cinemas, but the RTE TV 6p.m and 9p.m. news carried extensive film coverage showing the meeting, and by default the cinema interior. This news coverage should still be available, for a time, on the RTE news website.

m_muldowney on March 1, 2016 at 5:52 am

Savoy 1 theatre from 1969 – 1979 was a magnificent place to see a movie – that’s where I saw the original STAR WARS in 1977.

Cenzo7 on June 5, 2018 at 2:45 pm

As a regular attendant to Sunday afternoon matinees i look on it as a crime that the beautiful venetion acrhitecture was destroyed during the renovation. It could have been covered over and made availible to later generations to enjoy. To try to replicate it today would be prohibitably expensive. I can still see it in my mind.

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