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Revamped Stella Cinema could be open by the end of July

The cinema will have a cocktail bar and you can order food to your seat.

Stella Cinema 1 A clipping taken from old newspapers used as inspiration for the cinema's refurbishment. Source: Press Up

THE RATHMINES CINEMA that’s in the middle of a dramatic revamp could be open as early as the end of July.

The new cinema will feature armchairs, ottomans and blankets, and food will be served to your seat. A cocktail club will be upstairs where the old dance hall once was.

Stella Cinema, which first opened in 1923, closed its doors 12 years ago.

The cinema was put up for auction with a guide price of €1.75 million in 2015 and has since been taken over by the Press Up Entertainment group.

The group that owns The Workman’s Club and The Dean announced that they would revamp the old venue to a “one-of-a-kind cinema”.

There were concerns earlier in the week when the cinema’s famous neon sign was taken down from the cinema’s front.

But Press Up aimed to ease fears by saying that the building would be restored to ‘its former glory’.

“It was altered a lot during the 1970s and 1980s when the large neon sign was erected. Concrete cavity blocks were built over the original façade to support the sign.

“The sign was removed two years ago by the previous owner and the cavity blocks supporting the sign were removed two days ago – not the original façade.”

IMG_4360 (1) Source: Press Up

They said that when the blocks were taken away, the original granite façade and a previously hidden original window was revealed.

The original ceiling was also intact when they removed some interior additions. It contains some mouldings and plaster work which are being restored.

IMG_4359 Source: Press Up

Press Up said that Paddy McKillen and his associated companies who are carrying out the construction are well-accustomed to working on protected structures.

Previous works he’s completed include 23-27 College Green, Dollard House and Peruke & Periwig on Dawson Street.

According to Press UP, Paddy McKillen wasn’t made aware that a meeting was being held to start the process to list The Stella as a protected structure, but welcomes the idea.

There have been previous issues with the building preservation process: buildings earmarked for conservation often get altered because of a lack of communication and a slow process (like the J Dempsey building on Dorset Street).

Former glory

Stella Cinema 3 An old Image of Stella Cinema from the inside. Source: Press Up

So what will the building look like when it’s been restored? The above and below images are just some of the inspiration for what the restoration will look like.

But it’s been difficult to find photos of the 1920s cinema: “We have not been able to find good photographs - these are taken from old newspaper clippings”.

Stella Sinema 2 Source: Press Up

On the inside the partitions and additions from the 60s, 70s and 80s are being taken away to reveal the original building with its beautiful features and these are being restored.

The cinema will mainly show blockbuster movies, the company said.

Read: Stella Cinema set to reopen its doors after 12 years

Read: Conserving our heritage: ‘One woman was in tears that her home was a protected structure’

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