Categories of Special Interest
Architectural, Artistic, Historical, Social
Grand Central Cinema
In Use As
1915 - 1925
Terraced five-bay three-storey cinema, built 1919-21, now in use as bank, having arched entrance to middle of double-height ground floor, and with recessed middle bays with pediment. Flat roof with superimposed recent structure concealed behind panelled Portland stone parapet and pediment, flanked by projecting end bays with carved swags and limestone lintels with squared render coping throughout. Replacement aluminium rainwater goods to sides. Portland stone facing to front elevation, channelled to ground floor and ashlar to upper floors, over granite plinth. Ground floor surmounted by fluted Portland stone string course, with carved square panels with sunburst motif. Middle bays of first floor have paired engaged composite columns flanking middle opening, with acanthus leaf capitals, and end bays are framed by pilasters with raised panels, all over square podiums and separated by frieze having square panels with sunburst detail. Frieze over middle bays of first floor inscribed 'The Hibernian Bank Limited' and frieze with string course to end bays. Heavy moulded cornice with dentils and modillions above friezes acts as sill course to top floor. Square-headed window openings throughout having replacement timber casement windows to upper floor with flush Portland stone lintels over. Replacement eight-pane metal-framed windows to first floor within carved Portland stone architraves. Kneed Portland stone architraves to ground floor window openings having guttae and carved husk ornaments surmounted by lintel with modillion and dentillated cornice. Historic metal-framed four-pane window to southern window opening. Entrance archway is glazed, with glazed double-leaf door, archivolt has Greek key pattern and is supported on Doric columns on plinth blocks, and spandrels have curvilinear motifs and medallions with lion masks to centre. Square-headed door openings to end bays having timber panelled double-leaf doors with fluted copper architraves matching ornament of ground floor windows and with keystones reading 'HB'. Inscription to architrave reads 'I. & C. McGloughlin Ltd. Makers, Dublin 1951'. Recent ATM inserted in north door. Rendered walls to rear elevation with cast-iron and replacement uPVC rainwater goods, and square-headed window openings with replacement uPVC windows. Steel fire escape to south and steel grate to door. Backs onto Harbour Court.
Commenced in 1919, the Grand Central Cinema was built on the site of the former Dublin Bread Company, boasting a grand interior and a teak foyer with hand carvings as well as a glass canopy over the entrance. The elongated first floor windows were originally occupied by two separate floors with independent fenestration. In 1923, only two years after its completion, a land mine explosion severely damaged the west facade. A fire also broke out in 1946 which gutted the interior, prompting the sale of the building to the Hibernian Bank in 1949. It has served as a bank since that time and today forms an impressive part of the bottom of O’Connell Street Lower near the Liffey and the Daniel O’Connell monument. Alternating on this block with red brick structures are Portland stone and granite buildings which, including the bank, are of similar massing and size, with a colonnade to the first floor, classical detailing and a modillion cornice. It is therefore part of a rhythmic streetscape and forms a contrast with the largely red brick flanking buildings. The building is quite dynamic with good detailing to windows, spandrels, and fluted architraves. It is well-executed and retains extensive original fabric, adding architectural interest to this end of the city's principal thoroughfare. The north end of O’Connell Street was laid out from 1749 by Luke Gardiner, with the narrow southern end connecting Gardiner’s Mall to the Liffey, formerly known as Drogheda Street, widened at the end of the eighteenth century. The magnificent, axial thoroughfare was largely rebuilt in the twentieth century after the widespread destruction of the 1916 Rising.