By Jimmy Rhatigan
AN OLD cinema where back seats were once dominated by courting couples is set to give the kiss of life to a proud village.
An ambitious Freshford regeneration scheme in Freshford at the heart of North Kilkenny is centred around the Dooley family Odeon Cinema, Botharcrussia Street.
Thanks to the Dooleys who have kindly offered a long term lease, the high profile rehab and construction plan, supported by Kilkenny County Council and Kilkenny Leader Partnership is set to become a reality.
And, rather aptly, a green light decision that has led to speed of knots progress, has a wonderful fulcrum in the local Acorn Club that will ensure speedy growth and progress.
The project enjoys the support of an entire community and to be fair the Odeon Cinema provides the spark as the electrical shop owners are delighted that their one time hub of community entertainment provided the spark that ignited people power.
The cinema was built in 1944 and closed as a house of pictures in the early ‘60s.
Into the ‘60s and ‘70s the facility hosted pantomimes and variety shows.
During the renovation of St Lachtain’s Catholic Church, the cinema because a house of prayer and it was also to serve as an auction house for a time.
Among the local heroes who helped to make Freshford tick over the years were Tom Waldron, Tommy Connery, Moira Maher and Moira Dorgan, Donal Heaphy, Paddy Butler and local postman Jim Delaney also delivered.
Moira Maher and Moira Dorgan are deeply involved in the Acorn Club while comedians Paddy Butler and Donal Heaphy are the stars of many local shows.
Regular MC is Threecastles man, Larry Hamilton.
Acorn Club secretary Gerry O’Reilly is delighted with the proposed regeneration project and is looking forward to the coming Eurovision and Local Stars concert in aid of the programme.