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The 7 best cinemas in Dublin

Artsy picture house or massive multiplex? Whatever you prefer, our guide to the best cinemas in Dublin can deliver

Written by
Shilpa Ganatra

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: cinema ain’t dead, people! In fact, we’d go as afar as to say it’s better than ever. And during a cosy, wintery trip to Dublin, what could possibly be better than settling down in one of its iconic cinemas for the night? That’s right, absolutely nothing. 

Dublin’s cinemas are truly something to behold, from a huge Cineworld complex in the centre of town to indie releases at the intimate Irish Film Institute. If you’re here with a group, there’s even a cinema you can hire privately for 26 of your pals (yes, they supply the popcorn). Whatever you fancy, don’t miss the best cinemas in Dublin. 

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This guide was written by Shilpa Ganatra, a writer based in Dublin. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines

Cool cinemas in Dublin

Irish Film Institute
Photograph: Flickr / Kieran Lynam

1. Irish Film Institute

The beating heart of Irish cinema, the IFI is the first port of call for domestic releases. They also show international independent productions that often won’t be shown anywhere else in Ireland. The Temple Bar complex houses three screens, an archive and a shop, plus a large café in which you might spot Irish film industry bit-players. It’s the go-to place for artsy types with a couple of hours to kill in the city centre – there’s always something worth seeing.

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Run by Element Pictures (the production company that made ‘The Magdalene Sisters’ and ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’), the Light House is run with the creativity and passion you’d only expect from a bunch of proper film buffs. Big releases, Irish classics, a run of short films, one-off screenings, themed weekenders – you name it, they show it. It’s a fabulous space, too: bang in the middle of trendy Smithfield (also home to the Jameson Distillery), its airy, whitewashed interior feels more like a contemporary art gallery than a cinema.


3. Brooks Private Cinema

This cosy cinema in a city-centre hotel can be hired for up to 26 guests, whether for a hen party, a lavish date night or simply a mates’ get-together. You bring the DVD, Brooks provides the popcorn. For a heavier night, if the hotel’s food and bar offering don’t appeal, hosts can bring wine along (provided the corkage fee is paid).

Stella Cinema, Rathmines
Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Stella Cinema, Rathmines

A pioneer of the luxury cinema experience in Ireland, the Stella is a restored one-screen picture house from the 1920s with a host of original features. You’ll find each luxuriant leather seat dimly lit by a sultry table lamp here – that helps when picking at the food offering (think mini-tacos, panko chicken tenders and churros). On a date? We recommend two-person sofas and double beds.

Savoy Theatre
Photograph: Geograph / N Chadwick

5. Savoy Theatre

Standing resplendent on the main drag of O’Connell Street, the Savoy has been a fixture in Dublin since 1929. It was the principal location for Ireland’s glamorous red carpet premieres until a recent refurb, but its reputation as a cinematic institution remains. It now puts on a broad mix of films, across 13 screens, from mainstream flicks to the bigger leftfield releases.

Stella at The Devlin
Photograph: Stella Cinema

6. Stella at The Devlin

The baby sister of the main Stella, this 44-seater is in the basement of the uber-cool Devlin hotel in the Ranelagh neighbourhood, a 15-minute walk from the city centre. Come in through the adjoining cocktail bar – all gilded edging, mirror panelling and backlights – and you’ll immediately be struck by how intimate this Stella feels. Don’t expect a packed programme, though (nearly) everything they show is gold.

Cineworld, Parnell Street
Photograph: Shutterstock

7. Cineworld, Parnell Street

One for international blockbusters, this Cineworld is the biggest cinema in Ireland, with 17 screens from the giant to the snug. In addition to its Imax screen, at the time of writing it was the only place in the UK or Ireland that shows movies in 4DX. That’s where effects like moving seats, wind, strobe lighting, surround sound, scents and splashes of water merge in the ultimate immersive cinema experience. You’re a brave soul if you try it with a horror film.

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