207 Lower Rathmines Road,
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Firms: Higginbotham & Stafford
The Stella Cinema was designed in a Classical style by the architectural firm Higginbotham & Stafford and was located just to the south of Dublin city centre (not to be confused with the later Stella Cinema (1955-1976) in the Mount Merion district).
It had a Ballyknockan granite facade that had a central window which was flanked by two decorative columns, topped by decorative stone balls. It opened on 29th January 1923 with Violet Hopson in “The Imperfect Lover”. Seating was provided for 1,283 in stalls and circle levels in what was advertised as the ‘Largest Picture Theatre in Dublin But One’. There was a beautiful water fountain in front of the screen which had different coloured lights played onto it during the interval. An additional facility at the Stella Cinema was a dancehall on the first floor. It was built for and operated by the independent exhibitors the O'Grady family.
In the 1970’s it hosted several concerts by groups such as The Boomtown Rats, and rock artist Elvis Costello performed on stage in March 1978.
In later years the granite facade was covered over by a metal grille and in September 1981 the Stella Cinema was sub-divided into two screens, with seating given as 280 and 180 seats.
In 2003 the Stella Cinema was purchased from the O'Grady family by the Ward Anderson chain and they closed it in August 2004.
Restoration work began in February 2017 and it re-opened as a cinema & cocktail bar on 31st October 2017.
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