The Rialto was an unusual cinema because it was quite big. There was a lane that ran down beside it, and you could go for a walk there in the afternoon – it was very bleak. There was almost like a cavern entrance to it. It looked like a cave because it was curved, and inside that there was a window where you could buy a cheap seat. So we always went down in the afternoon because it was cheap to go down through this door. And there was this famous shop beside it that used to sell ice cream that they made themselves. It was called Cafollas and you’d look forward to going down there and buying your little ice cream. You wouldn’t eat it until you got into the cinema – it was really nice when it started to melt.
And then there was the Leinster beside it. The Leinster was a cinema my parents didn’t like us going to. We could go to the Rialto if we didn’t get into the Star but we were banned from the Leinster because it was a little bit rougher. It wasn’t the cleanest place – and also the screen wasn’t great. Very bad screen in the Leinster, everything was very dark in there.
My mother used to say if you went there you’d come back full of fleas. But the dirtiest of the lot was the Tivoli, on Francis Street, which is now a theatre. I remember The Lyric as well, on James’ street.
My older sisters were lumbered with me on a Sunday and I’d be going off with all their friends. If we didn’t get into the Rialto they’d turn to me and say “You don’t say a word” and we’d be heading for the Leinster. If we couldn’t get in there, because it was often really packed we’d have to cross over the bridge and we used to feel really strange because we had to cross over the bridge – which is where the Luas passes now – and that brought you down to James’ street to the Lyric. I mean even as a kid I was afraid to go into the Lyric. But they were great days, yeah, I must say.