Review: The Lighthouse Cinema.

What’s the experience like in one of Smithfield best known venues?

So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret…. 

I’m not from Dublin, and I don’t even live here for college! 

So, my experience of doing things in Dublin is rather limited, and I don’t fancy going out drinking much. 

However, I do enjoy the cinema, and there are a few interesting venues in Dublin that beat my local multiplex. 

One such venue is the Lighthouse Cinema, a much-loved icon of Smithfield and one I have been eager to visit. 

So, I took the time to fit in a visit to the Lighthouse as it was screening a movie that wasn’t on near me. 

I can’t be the only one who’s not been there previously, so here are my thoughts on this Dublin institution. 

When you walk in, the lobby is surprisingly quite small. A red carpet had been rolled out in preparation for the upcoming Dublin International Film Festival which gave a luxury feel to the place. There were two kiosks to my right to print out or purchase tickets, and a small, staffed counter, which also sold snacks, to the left if you don’t trust the machines. 

Off to the right-hand side of the lobby was a cafe that also sold tickets and snacks along with hot drinks, food, and pastries. This is something I really like. It adds a more communal aspect to the cinema. Rather than just being a place to watch movies, it also serves as a meeting place for friends and family. 

The location of the Lighthouse left me often pondering where exactly the screens where? 

Were they upstairs, was there possibly only 2 screens at most? 

Once I had my tickets and food, I was left unsure where to go. I suppose the large downwards staircase beside me was a giveaway. 

So down I ventured, and down again passing screens, and down again where I saw the bar area (another feature I admire). The usher checked my ticket and pointed me to Screen 2. 

I was awestruck at the site before me. The seating area of the screens jut out above your head. It’s an imposing area, giving almost a cavernous vibe. Seating areas beneath the jutting out rooms further add to this feeling. It is truly one of the most impressive cinemas I have seen. 

Getting over this impressive space, I made my way to Screen 2 and was happy to find I was so far alone. The advantage of going at 12:45 during the week. 

This allowed me the chance to truly take in space. 

The rows of multicoloured seats, in all honesty, reminded me of a 1970’s airliner. And I don’t mean that in a bad way, I’ve always wanted to try one of those planes. 

The design of these seats reminded me of an old airliner, and I love that. Image by Edward Ryan.

The seats themselves were very comfortable, though the legroom directly ahead of me wasn’t as much as other cinemas. The lighting was relaxing, and the screen was a good size too. 

One thing I really like about the Lighthouse is the colour scheme. Like the seats inside the screens, much of the rest of the building has a retro feel to it. The first flight of stairs in the lobby has cushioned steps for people to chat on. 

If I were to describe the Lighthouse Cinema in one word it would be ‘communal’. 

The staff are very friendly, the popcorn was good, the prices were reasonable and the venue itself was clean. I am already planning my next visit here. 

You can find all the latest showings at the Lighthouse Cinema here.  

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