James Joyce and John McCormack sang here, as did George Bernard Shaw’s mother, while other historic performers included Charles Stewart Parnell, Lady Gregory and WB Yeats. Yet the Academy, as the building on Pearse Street, Dublin, is now known, had a more industrious beginning in 1824 when it was the home of the Dublin Oil and Gas Company. The gas was made from fish oil, an energy source that peak-oil-crisis watchers might want to think about reviving. When new types of oil took over the gas building became a concert hall run by the Society of Antient Concerts, who bought it in 1842, where Ireland’s illustrious performers gave their best to an audience encompassed by ornate plasterwork. The building then became the workshop of sculptor Edmund Sharp in 1911 before re-entering the world of entertainment as a cinema in the 1920s. This grand movie house was bought by one of Ireland’s big cinema families, and they still own it, along with 15 other cinemas across Ireland.
The Irish Times