An affectionate look back at the old Cinemas and Theatres of Limerick and its Environs – The People, The Stories, The Films and The Shows.

This comprehensive and fully illustrated lecture looks back at a different time when going to the cinema was such a special treat.
The lecture is inspired by Joe Coleman’s book “House Full” which was specially written and independently published for Limerick’s National City of Culture in 2014. We meet the characters and well-turned-out members of staff that brought the venues to life.

On this journey we take a look at The Savoy, The Grand Central, The Carlton, The Royal, The Lyric, The City Theatre, The Tivoli, The Thomond, The Astor and a whole lot more.

We hear about the double features and the continuous shows, when we often stayed in the auditorium to see the whole programme again for the same price.

We learn about the unruly behaviour of some of the patrons of simpler times, the queue jumping and the ducking in without paying and the courting in the back rows of the stalls and balcony.

We also learn about the huge influence of the Catholic Church right up to the post war period. The 27week long Limerick Cinema Strike that went on from October 1951 to May 1952 in which 120 workers were affected and suffered significant hardship over the period.

The Savoy which was one of the finest cinemas in Europe, with its magnificent Art Deco design and its beautiful decoration throughout.
Its 1500 seats were filled to capacity every Sunday night throughout the year – no matter what films were being shown, as tickets had to be booked in advance each week and almost always by the same patrons who considered the seats as their own.
It was a great era with simpler times that will never be repeated.

About the Speaker:
Joe Coleman comes from Thomondgate on the North Side of Limerick City, and is a second generation ‘Soda Cake’.
Joe moved to Meelick, Co. Clare in 1986 where he lives with his wife Adalean.
He is a former cinema worker from his youthful days back in the 1970’s when he worked in the old Savoy on Bedford Row in its final years as Limerick’s best loved cinema then under the ownership of the great British Milling Company “The Rank Organisation”.

Joe has spent over 39 years in public transport with CIE/Bus Éireann until his retirement in 2017. He has two great passions in life; cinema and Irish railways, both subjects which he has featured in different lectures around the Limerick area in recent years.

He has written and independently published four books: “House Full” (2014), “Falling Gradient” (2016), “The Breaking Rapids” (2018) and “Down By The Bare Place” (2021). With the exception of the latter the other three are no longer in print.

Continuing Professional Development is important to Joe who has completed a wide range of courses in different principles. He also has the ‘gift of the gab’ and is a Distinguished Toastmaster with Thomond Toastmasters Club in Limerick. Joe is also a Failte Ireland Approved National Tourist Guide.

Nowadays; Joe Coleman broadcasts a weekly show LIVE and Online titled “Movies & Melodies”.
It is on every Tuesday from 1 to 2 p.m. on Limerick City Community Radio and available to stream Online at: www.lccr.ie.

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