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conor:Many thanks for the corrections. I have deleted the two ‘incorrect’ photos of the dance hall and reset the Google Street view. Thanks for posting your vintage photgraph which give a good perspective of the location of the cinema.
Hi amazing post and alot of information. Im a fan of history especially architecture and cinemas. The photo shown of it now is not the cinema that was a dance hall and it does look like a cinema so i can see how someone could get confused. The building this cinema was is now changed beyond recognition which is a pity as it was an amazing building. I think it was made from a military base base in Aghada. It was known as the flea pit cinema. And the other cinema here Ormonde cinema was built for the talkies in the late 40s.
The story about the owner being killed by a lion in Africa was told to me by my mother, who was born and raised in Midleton, so it is probably true. I inspected this building when it was an auction house in the early 1960s. The projection ports, high on the back wall were still in place. Like the Ormond cinema, it had high windows that were covered by shutters on the auditorium side walls. Perhaps this saved the cost of day-time electricity for cleaning?
My mother told me that they had improvised sound effects behind the screen operated by a local person, or two. She said that they usully played the tune “ A Whister and His Dog” during the intevals.