52-54 Upper O'Connell Street,
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Built on the site of the first Carlton Cinema (1915-1936, architect T.F. McNamara) which had 600 seats. The Carlton Theatre was designed by architects Robinson & Keefe and opened on 16th April 1938 with “The Awful Truth” starring Cary Grant. It stands opposite the Savoy Cinema in Dublins' principal thoroughfare Upper O'Connell Street.
An exercise in restrained Art Deco style, the simple lines of the facade have stood the test of time well, Inside, the decoration relied principally on the use of paint and lighting but two large displays with a musical instrument motif were formed by twenty panels on either side of the screen. There was seating for 1,500 in the stalls and 500 in the circle. A stage and dressing rooms were included in the design.
In 1956, the Carlton Theatre held the European Premiere of Bill Haley in “Rock Around the Clock” and it played to packed houses for three weeks. Many horror films were played at the Carlton Theatre. In 1959 it was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) and in the late-1960’s it passed to EMI. Many concerts were held on the stage in the 1970’s including performances by Duke Ellington, Cleo Lane, Johnny Cash, James Last, Fats Domino, Nana Mouskouri, Marlene Deitrich and Don McLean.
Last operated by MGM, the cinema was sub-divided into 3-screens and then a fourth screen was added in space that had been the cinema restaurant. The Carlton Cinema was closed on 20th October 1994, two of the final films screened were “Singing in the Rain” and “Rock Around the Clock”.
Since then it has been the subject of court battles to redevelop the site and in 2003 was Compulsary Purchased by the city council to facilitate a new project on the site of the cinema and an adjoining area which has been vacant since 1976. It is not known how much, if any, of the Carlton Cinema will remain.
In 2011, part of the building was being used by an amusement attraction known as the XD Theater.
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