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Places (POIs) visited during this tour

Place #1
Distance: 0.02mi , Attraction : Hotel
Map Pin
22 O'Connell Street Upper, North City, Dublin, Ireland
POI 1 Tour Image
The Gresham Dublin
Welcome to Historic America & UCPlaces’ audio walking tour of Dublin. I’m Rachel, your guide. I invite you to use #historicamericatours on social media while we’re traveling  together today. Let’s begin!

You’re standing in the heart of Dublin, on O’Connell Street. A main thoroughfare for centuries, it’s only been called O’Connell street since the Irish won their fight for Independence from Great Britain in 1921. In 1924, the street was renamed after nationalist leader Daniel O’Connell. In the Georgian Era, this thoroughfare was the most fashionable place in the city, but war and political unrest transformed the social and architectural landscape of this historic street. A handful of venerable buildings remain, including the General Post Office, built in 1818, Clerys Department Store, built in 1822, and the oldest of the lot, and the first stop on our tour today, the Gresham Hotel built in 1817. 

The Gresham opened as a lodging house that catered to the wealthy aristocracy. Members of Parliament would often stay here en route to or from London. The structure was significantly damaged during the Irish Civil War that followed directly after Ierland’s guerilla style fight for independence from Great Britain, but many of the Gresham’s original features remain, including the Waterford crystal chandeliers that decorate the interior. A Dublin institution, and a landmark building, this 4 star, 288 guest room hotel was renovated in 2013 and then sold to the RIU Hotels & Resorts brand in 2016 for €92 million.

Most of the businesses and buildings on O’Connell street were damaged or destroyed during the Irish Civil War. In the wake of the war’s destruction, city planners seized the opportunity to modernize old O’Connell street, and we can see the mix of old and new as we traverse the busy district today. When you’re ready, make your way to our next stop; a building with large metallic lettering spelling out the word “Savoy.”


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Place #2
Distance: 0.10mi , Attraction : Historic cinema
Map Pin
17 O'Connell Street Upper, North City, Dublin, Ireland
POI 2 Tour Image
The Savoy Cinema
The Savoy Cinema is the oldest operational cinema in Dublin, and it is the preferred cinema in Ireland for film premières. This massive movie house rose from the ashes of the Granville Hotel, a building leveled during the Irish Civil War. Part of O'Connell Street's wave of revitalization, the Savoy Cinema opened on November 29th, 1929, and boasted nearly 2,900 seats! Designed by architect FC Mitchell, the theater was built in the atmospheric style. 

Atmospheric buildings recreate a specific time and place that is different from the reality outside the structure’s doors. In the case of the Savoy, patrons felt as though they’d been transported to a Venetian courtyard. The interior walls featured building facades found in Venice, a decorative arch above the large screen was modeled after the Rialto bridge, and the Doge’s Palace was painted on the title curtain. The breathtaking ceiling was painted sky blue, and soared over the grand auditorium, evoking the sensation of walking down a sunlit Italian canal path. Unfortunately, most of these elements were removed during various renovations, reconfigurations and reimaginations. The Savoy is the oldest cinema, but it is also the most altered. In 1969, the massive single screen was divided in two, and in 1975, it was divided into three screens. The theater is now a 13 screen cinema and features LUXX screens that are equipped with deluxe recliner seats and state-of-the-art sound systems. Although streaming platforms and a global pandemic threatened the movie going experience, the Savoy celebrates almost a century of success and still welcomes an average of 250,000 patrons annually.

Use the navigation to continue on O’Connell and left onto North Earl. I’ll meet you at the statue of a gentleman with a cane.


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