Coliseum Cinema

Ilen Street,

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Previous Names: Kinemac

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Coliseum Cinema

The Coliseum Cinewma was opened on 14th December 1914 as the Kinemac by Gerald J. Macaura (born Gerald McCarthy) with the mayor of Cork city, Henry O’Shea, doing the honours. It was founded to provide funding for the paramilitary Irish Volunteers by a man who had made money selling vibrators to the world. It offered a nightly show of dramatic, humourous and travel pictures, including special war films and could accommodate 209 patrons. Suggesting that the committee was biased against Skibbereen’s Protestants, who had boycotted the cinema, Macaura removed them and replaced them with his agent. He arranged for it to be run by Alex McEwan from the Picturedrome in Cork in the autumn of 1915 but the cinema did not prosper, even when being run by a professional cinema manager, and later closed.

It was reopened on 25th April 1916 by Southern Coliseums, which ran the Coliseum Cinema and Tivoli Cinema in Cork, presumably on a leased basis. The first showing was a three-part drama “The Barefoot Boy”. It still did not attract enough patronage and Macaura decided to sell it lock stock and barrel for scrap in August 1917.

Contributed by Gavin McGrath
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