My Cinema Memories by Marian Burke

Rag and bone manMy local cinema was called The Palace, on Pearse Street. We lived in Townsend Street so it was only around the corner from us. I can’t remember how much it cost to get in. We always went to the afternoon matinees. We never asked our parents for money as we knew they didn’t have much so we would make the cinema money up by selling jam jars or old clothes to the ‘Rag and Bone’ man, sometimes taking our parents good stuff! We also put on little concerts for the other children and made them pay us a penny. If there was a week when we couldn’t get the money up for our precious matinees, one or two would pay to go in. They had to walk down a hallway, pass the cinema room, towards the toilets. At the end of that hallway were two steel doors leading out to Mark’s Lane where we lived and where they would open at the end of the film to let us all out. We would then sneak in that way and pop into the film at the back rows.  I can’t remember ever getting caught!  

One of my memories, and I’m not sure what age I was, I went with my cousin, Lucy, to an afternoon matinee one week. There were hundreds of children there and as we were enjoying the film, I think it was a Western, we saw something under the seats that looked like sweets in a round box, the kind that belonged to the cheese triangles like the Laughing Cow today. We ate a couple or so and felt guilty in case they belonged to someone else and also they didn’t taste so nice, so we called the Usher over and told him we had found some sweets that they were not ours. Then he used his flashlight on them and all hell broke loose!  Next thing we knew there were ambulance sirens all over the place and the film was stopped. The paramedics charged in and started questioning us as to how many we took. We couldn’t say for sure and then we found ourselves in an ambulance headed to St. Patrick Dunne’s hospital. We had eaten rat poison! We could have been poisoned to death if our guilt hadn’t taken over! That’s one memory that will stay with me of my local Cinema. Look at the year it opened, 1920, coincidence or what?