The former Town Hall in Loughrea, County Galway. Occupying the site of an earlier linen hall the building, seemingly designed by Samuel Usher Roberts, dates from c.1860 when erected on the instructions of Ulick de Burgh, Marquess of Clanricarde who then owned Loughrea. In 1928 Viscount Lascelles, future sixth Earl of Harewood, who had inherited much of the Clanricarde estate through his grandmother, donated the town hall to the local residents; it was thereafter used as a cinema on the ground floor with a dance hall upstairs. The building was closed down in the late 1980s and has stood empty ever since but of late thanks to persistent efforts by the citizens of Loughrea plans have got underway for its restoration and conversion into a cultural and community centre. With funds now secured and an architectural design team appointed, the hope must be that, after more than 30 years of wasteful neglect, this building finally has a brighter future.*
*P.S. According to a tourist information board opposite the building, it was ‘used as a cinema in the mid 19th century.’ Who knew films were being screened in County Galway so far ahead of anywhere else…
I am glad to see this. I am always shocked at how buildings are left vacant, and in some cases no effort to maintain – such a waste of resources. I often think if governments wanted to intervene in the housing market then vacant buildings would be a good place to start
I have observed many attempts to do something with this building over the past couple of decades. Politics and lack of vision held it back, until now! Let us hope it can be rescued at last.
These pioneers of cinema, in Galway no less!
Anyhow this structure with its fine stonework and history will come back to life.
So glad this building now has a brighter future.
Cinema 1850s…wow…40 years before the first recorded in Paris. There should be a commemorative plaque at least