The golden age of Cork cinema has ended as Capitol is knocked

For 60 of my 75 years I was a film buff. A few words could be said with regard to the last of the old Cork cinemas, ie the Capitol which is nearly all knocked at present.

The golden age of Cork cinema has ended as Capitol is knocked

There was a time when if a person decided to head in to town to see a film, you would have, depending on the year in question, a choice of perhaps 12 cinemas.

For a person who may not recall all of those cinemas they were:

The Savoy, The Pavilion, The Capitol, The Lee, The Coliseum, The Palace, The Imperial (now Saville’s outfitters), The Assembly Rooms, South Mall, The Ritz (across from the Washington Street side view of St Augustine’s Church), The Lido, Blackpool, The Palladium (near Collins’ Barracks) and let us not forget the Kino.

I would have seen films in all of those cinemas. While the outside of many of the cinemas mentioned retain a lot of what they looked like in their heyday they have of course being dramatically changed on the inside.

An excellent book on the history of the old Cork cinemas was published about ten years ago.

My memory of the Capitol would be seeing the film ‘The Sound of Music’, which was very popular with Cork audiences. ‘GI Blues’, the first film Elvis made after leaving the army and the ‘Michael Collins’ film.

The Savoy, Pavilion and perhaps the Capitol had restaurants, a bonus if you had a couple of extra bob.

I remember that when the Jack Lynch tunnel was completed there was ‘two open days’ set aside for people to walk through the traffic free tunnel and under the River Lee (shades of Charlton Heston, Moses in the ‘Ten Commandments’ when he parted the sea).

This left me wondering if the people who enjoyed their trips to the Capitol cinema over many years could be given a day or two to say their farewells to the old cinema. I thought that it was ‘capital’ idea

So, I sent a letter to the people behind the project. It was well received but had to be turned down on safety grounds.

Hopefully the happiness of the Capitol will spread to the new retail development.

Donal Harris

Blarney Street

Cork

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