The ultimate guide to film in Dublin

The city boasts an eclectic range of cinemas for film fans to enjoy according to Heather Croghan

The film scene in Dublin can simultaneously feel daunting and underwhelming. While it is not hard to find screenings of films, ranging from mainstream blockbusters to those of the indie variety, it can be difficult to seek out specific events or venues based on individual interests. The sheer number of cinemas in Dublin’s city centre can make picking a venue a formidable task. Aside from the experience of simply settling down to watch a film, in Irish cinemas, one can experience more than just the movies.

“Cineworld is home to Ireland’s only 4D cinema, which adds a sensory element to the viewing experience, including seats that move with the film’s action.”

In the centre of town there lies numerous cinemas, such as Cineworld on Parnell Street, which tends to screen a more mainstream programme, ranging from the latest superhero films to Tarantino classics. Cineworld is home to Ireland’s only 4D cinema, which adds a sensory element to the viewing experience, including seats that move with the film’s action. Just a short stroll down to O’Connell Street brings you to the Savoy Cinema, a venue which is frequently chosen to host Irish premieres and global blockbuster releases.  

The Omniplex chain of cinemas screen a similar repertoire to the aforementioned locations, and can be found in Rathmines and Balbriggan. Meanwhile, IMC Cinemas are Ireland’s number one multiplex cinema chain, with locations including Dun Laoghaire and Santry. Finally, Odeon Cinemas have four cinemas in Dublin, which show the latest releases and 3D films. They also boast two ISENSE screens with super-sized monitors and 4K digital projectors to enable an immersive experience, located in Point Square and Blanchardstown. These larger scale companies tend to have relatively similar programmes, featuring new releases as well as highly-anticipated international films.

The Irish Film Institute (IFI), nestled in bustling Temple Bar, is a cultural gem for any Irish film enthusiast. The venue hosts a variety of excellent events, as well as the usual screenings. An insight into the behind-the-scenes of the Irish Film Archive can be found through tours given by the IFI, as well as regular talks explaining how they safeguard their national collections that date back to the year 1897. These talks can be booked through their website, and attendees also have the option to have lunch in their café. In addition, the IFI runs numerous festivals throughout the year. These include its annual IFI Documentary Festival which runs during September, and October’s unmissable Horrorthon, which features some of the best modern and cult horror classics in the build up to Halloween. 

For international film buffs, the annual IFI French Film Festival and the Dublin Arabic Film Festival collaboration can be expected in the autumn months. The IFI is also collaborating with Kinopolis Polish Film Festival this year, for the 14th time, to bring a programme from one of Europe’s most creatively prolific nations, with dates yet to be announced.

“The Lighthouse is considered a powerhouse in celebrating and screening Irish cinema.”

Just a short walk from the city centre, the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield is a beacon of cinematic excellence. With its incredible wraparound screens, no other location so perfectly encapsulates the paradoxical sense of feeling undiscovered yet lively. It delivers a world class programme which boasts an amalgamation of different mediums of entertainment. The Lighthouse is considered a powerhouse in celebrating and screening Irish cinema. Its events range from premieres, to unusual screenings such as Us + Them from Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame, which will make its Irish debut on October 2. 

At the beginning of Michaelmas term, the Lighthouse will host the announcement of the highly-anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments, in a talk with Margaret Atwood which can be viewed live on September 10. Also, a Wonder Years – Films to Grow Up With themed marathon, screening classics such as Pan’s Labyrinth and Harry Potter, is running until September 5. The Lighthouse is also hosting a comical Culture Night screening of Shaun The Sheep: Farmaggedon on September 20, which is free as long as you pre-book. 

Film in Dublin is an impressive and diverse experience, much like the city itself. Whether in a mainstream cinema or a smaller arthouse location, there is no better way to enjoy a film than in a dark popcorn-scented room surrounded by friends or fellow film-enthused individuals.