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The Ritz Cinema & Ballroom

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The Ritz Cinema & Ballroom
My thanks to Mr Bill Muldowney  for providing me with some these photos.

The Ritz Cinema 1972. Outside is a 1972 Vauxhall Viva. 2 door. Sent in by Peter Walker Oct 2013.
The Ritz Cinema 1970's. Source Dermot O'Brien
The Ritz Cinema 1989
Source: The Nationalist "Carlow Changes"

The same building in 2009

Nationalist and Leinster Times.

June 1938.

Carlow's Magnificent New Cinema

Formal opening ceremony by celebrated screen actress.

The Magnificent new Carlow Cinema, The Ritz, was filled to its utmost capacity on Saturday night when the formal opening ceremony by Miss Diana Wynyard, the celebrated stage and screen actress.

Miss Wynyard was given a most enthusiastic reception when she appeared on the stage accompanied by Mr. M. J. Deasy, Managing Director and Mr. Valentine Miley.

Mr. Deasy said he regretted the absence of Mr. Scott, the Architect, who was at present engaged on professional business in America.

Mr. Deasy paid a warm tribute to him and to the contractors D. J. Carbery, Ltd. Athy and Carlow, on the splendid consummation of the work of erection of the Cinema Theatre.

Miss Wynyard, who was introduced by Mr. Deasy, received a great ovation. She said she was very glad to come to Carlow to perform the opening ceremony.

She congratulated the people of Carlow on having one of the most beautiful luxurious and up-to-date Cinema Theatres in the country. She was sure the Carlow audiences would always appreciate the films shown here.

Mr. Miley said they all appreciated the great kindness of Miss Wynyard in coming there at great personal inconvenience to formally open the Cinema, and as a small mark of their appreciation he wished on behalf of the Directors to present her with a pair of book-ends in Connemara marble suitably inscribed.

The brilliant light and artistic colour scheme of the interior was very favorably commented on.

From a sound point of view the building is as acoustically perfect as it could be.

Every syllable of the actors on the screen could be distinctly heard from all parts of the Theatre.

An interesting feature of the opening was a mannequin parade under the direction of Madam Brennan, South Anne Street, Dublin. Several beautiful designs in evening gowns were exhibited.

The floral decorations in the balcony, foyer and main entrance, which were a veritable work of art, were carried out by A. L. Spiers, Burtown Nurseries, Ballytore.

At the conclusion of the programme an informal reception was held in the Foyer, at which a large number of guests were present from Dublin, Carlow, and adjoining counties.

Films showing at the Ritz in 1967

The Nationalist & Leinster Times, September 22nd 1967

Films showing at the Ritz in 1968


The Nationalist & Leinster Times, July 5th 1968

Above are the adverts that appeared in the Carlow Nationalist newspapers each week telling you what pictures were being shown at the Ritz that week.

Source: Bill Muldowney and Merry Kelly (nee Nolan)

Ritz Cinema and Crotty's Bakery c1968
The Ritz Cinema and Crotty's Bakery c.1968
(Photo W. Muldowney c1968)

The Ritz Cinema opened in 1939.  A Hollywood actor came all the way over from America for the opening ceremony. Admission price to the pits cost 4d. In 1941 the Ritz management decided to raise this to 7d . 'Holy murder',  pickets came from Graigue, and stood at the Pit door so no person were allowed to go through.

Their argument was that no tax was payable on 4d, but above that incurred a tax of 2d. So they were only getting 1d extra. Three weeks later, the increase was scrapped.

The projectionist at the Ritz for many years was Joe Carter of Burrin St, Carlow -Source: Michael Cradden

Ritz Cinema on Tullow Street. Carlow
The front entrance to the Ritz Cinema on Tullow Street 1968 .
The Ballroom was down the side road on the left in Charlotte Street.
(Photo W. Muldowney)

Charlotte Street Carlow   Charlotte Street Carlow

(Photo W. Muldowney c.1967 & 2006)

Here we have the side entrance in Charlotte Street to the Ritz Cinema 'Pit seats' in 1967. Further down on the right hand side is the Ritz Ballroom.

P.J. Tierney and his orchestra was one of the many bands that would have played here during the 60's. He was also did regular appearances at the Crofton Hotel Ballroom

The van on the left is delivering to Atkinsons Bicycle Shop in Charlotte Street.  This was where he used to store bicycles. The main shop entrance was in Tullow Street.

Michael Scott

(Ritz Cinema Architect)

During the Second World War, or the 'Emergency' as it was called in neutral Ireland, Scott's practice operated out of accommodation in Clare Street, Dublin. It survived on small commissions such as cinemas in Athlone and Clonmel and interiors of public bars. Building materials and money were in short supply and architects were hard hit. The artist Louis le Brocquy (born 1916) who produced work for Scott during these years wrote:

... things were not easy for Michael either, as might be expected of an inspired contemporary architect who repeatedly refused to compromise his growing vision, a revelatory vision of plastic rectitude, of pure, unsentimental, unadorned rightness.

Scott had been known to walk away from commissions that he did not find challenging or interesting. Increasingly he was passing on work and commissions that he had received to young graduate architects whose work he admired. The Ritz Cinema in Athlone (1939) is a case in point. Although the design of the Ritz Cinema Carlow was attributed to Michael Scott it was in fact designed by Bill O'Dwyer who was working and studying in the office at that time. While it is impossible for a successful architect to fully design all the buildings that come into his practice, Scott seems to have produced only rough sketches for the project leaving O'Dwyer to design the building. O'Dwyer was to be responsible for many of the cinema commissions undertaken by the firm in these years including two other Ritz cinemas at Carlow and Clonmel which opened in 1940


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