Feb 06 2011

St Finbars Hall, Cabra West.

Published by at 8:56 pm under News

This is the school hall in Saint Finbar’s School, Cabra West. The first time I was ever in this hall I was about four years of age. My older brother brought me to see a film of Abbott and Costello meets the Mummy. The hall was crammed with millions of other children, most of whom where screaming and shouting to each other. Some adults too where shouting even louder at the children to ‘shut up and sit down or you’ll be barred’. I had no idea what they meant by this as I took a tighter grip on my brother’s hand. I was afraid of getting lost in the crowd. Eventually the lights were dimmed and the steady humming noise from the film projector silenced the mob. Everyone settled back to enjoy the film. I think the first film to come on the big screen was called The Masked Rider, a silent film with a piano music soundtrack. I was mesmerised by the big screen hanging on the wall over the entrance doors to the hall. This was my first time to see a real film. The roars and screams from the gangs of children were almost deafening when Abbott and Costello came on the screen with the Mummy coming up behind them. ‘Behind ya mister’ went up the chorus from the entire audience. The walls of the entire building shook from the screams. That film and experinece was my baptism by fire into the world of cinema. This was also the first place I had ever seen Dicke Rock from Dingle Road singing with the Blue Clavon. It was a charity concert that included the Dubliners ballad group. And of course when I graduated to Finbars from the convent the hall became a semi permanent fixture in my young life. On rainy days we played in this hall instead of going out into the school yard. In my teen years with the Cabra Tech Icame here to the Hops and dances that the priest ran each Friday night and Sunday afternoon. As a young boy the hall seemed almost as big in size as the compound on lower Killala Road. When I returned to it some years ago I was shocked at how much it had shrunk over the years. Today St Finbar’s School and hall haven’t got as many children attending as it had in the 1950’s when I was there.

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