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In County Limerick, Foynes is a small town on the south bank of the River Shannon, on the main road between Tarbert and Limerick. While driving through in August 2017 I noticed this building, with its very cinematic frontage.

Until fairly recently, it had been home to J. S. Motor Factors, but when I visited, the building was up for sale. A local resident told me that, many years ago, it had been best known as a dance hall, but film shows were presented there, on a part-time basis, in and around the 1950’s. She also told me the town has never had a permanent cinema (the Kine Year Books I have do not have one listed) so use of this building sounds very likely at that time. However, I have no idea whether these shows were brought in by travelling showmen, or whether the hall had any cinema equipment or facilities of its own.

The estate agent handling the sale is O'Donovan & Associates. According to the sale particulars, it was built as a town hall and has a “vaulted ceiling”. This definitely supports its use as a community cinema, even if only part-time. (There is 6,800sq feet, and the building is on the market at €120,000.)

Hopefully another contributor will be able to shed more light on the cinematic history of this building. (The local library has not responded to my requests for further information.)

Contributed by David Simpson
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