Nestled in the heart of the lively Smithfield Market neighbourhood in Dublin 7, the Lighthouse Cinema stands as a testament to the power of art and culture in the city. This state-of-the-art cinema, with its modern architecture and focus on a diverse range of film offerings, has become a beloved destination for film enthusiasts and casual moviegoers alike. In this blog post, we will delve into the captivating history of the Lighthouse Cinema, its unique features and offerings, special events, and the essential role it plays in the local arts and culture scene.

A Rich History of Cinema and Community

The Lighthouse Cinema has a storied history that dates back to its original location on Middle Abbey Street, where it operated as an art-deco cinema from 1988 to 1996. In 2008, the cinema was relocated to a new, government-funded building in Smithfield, Dublin. However, the cinema faced a temporary closure in 2011 as a result of the Dublin property crash, leading to the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) taking over the property.

In 2012, Element Pictures stepped in and breathed new life into the Lighthouse Cinema, reopening it and implementing a fresh vision for its future. Since its reopening, the cinema has experienced a resurgence in popularity, thanks to its eclectic mix of film offerings that include both arthouse and Hollywood blockbusters, as well as regular classic screenings. This renewed focus on diversity and inclusivity has transformed the Lighthouse Cinema into a vibrant hub of art and culture in Dublin.

An Array of Unique Features and Offerings

The Lighthouse Cinema boasts 614 seats across four screens, each equipped with Sony 4K projectors and Dolby surround sound, ensuring an unparalleled cinema experience for every audience member. Screen 1 is the largest, with a seating capacity of 277, followed by Screen 2 with 153 seats, Screen 3 with 116 seats, and Screen 4 with 68 seats. The cinema’s expert technical team ensures seamless presentation experiences for all films and events, while dedicated event WiFi and stage lighting in Screens 1 and 2 enhance the experience for special events and screenings.

Accessibility is a priority at the Lighthouse Cinema, with all screens and public areas being wheelchair accessible. The cinema can accommodate up to two screen rentals simultaneously, providing a versatile space for a variety of events and occasions.

Special Events and Programs

Beyond its regular film screenings, the Lighthouse Cinema is committed to fostering a sense of community and engagement with the arts. The cinema hosts a variety of special events and programs, including quiz nights, book clubs, and specially-hosted cult film screenings, offering unique opportunities for locals and visitors to connect and engage with the world of film.

One of the Lighthouse Cinema’s standout events is the ‘One Two One Two Music Festival,’ a cinema music festival that showcases the intersection of film and music through a series of screenings, live performances, and panel discussions.

The cinema also serves as one of the venues for the prestigious Dublin International Film Festival, further cementing its status as a cornerstone of the city’s arts and culture scene.

A Destination for National and International Visitors

The Lighthouse Cinema’s mission extends beyond merely being a niche cinema in Dublin. Its aim is to become a destination cinema in the minds of both national and international visitors, not just those within its immediate catchment area. By curating a diverse and inclusive film program and offering a wide range of special events and initiatives, the Lighthouse Cinema is well on its way to becoming a must-visit attraction for film lovers from around the world.

The Lighthouse Cinema is a shining example of the power of community, art, and culture in Dublin’s thriving Smithfield Market neighbourhood. With its rich history, commitment to diversity and inclusivity in film programming, and an array of special events and offerings, the cinema has become a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike.

As it continues to grow and evolve under the guidance of Element Pictures, the Lighthouse Cinema is poised to solidify its status as a cornerstone of Dublin’s arts and culture scene. Whether you’re a film enthusiast seeking an arthouse gem, a casual moviegoer looking for the latest blockbuster, or a visitor eager to experience the vibrant local culture, the Lighthouse Cinema offers something for everyone.

So, the next time you find yourself in Dublin 7, be sure to make a stop at the Lighthouse Cinema – and immerse yourself in the world of film, art, and culture that awaits within its walls.


One example of such collaboration is the cinema’s involvement in educational initiatives, hosting workshops and masterclasses with renowned filmmakers and industry professionals. These events provide budding filmmakers and film enthusiasts with valuable insights, knowledge, and networking opportunities that can help shape their careers and aspirations.

In addition to its regular programming and special events, the Lighthouse Cinema also offers a cosy café and a full-service bar for patrons to enjoy before or after their film. The café serves a selection of delicious food, including sandwiches, salads, and pastries, as well as a variety of hot and cold beverages. The bar offers an extensive menu of wines, beers, and cocktails, providing the perfect spot for patrons to relax, socialize, and discuss the film they’ve just experienced.

The Lighthouse Cinema’s unique blend of quality programming, special events, and comfortable amenities has made it a popular destination not only for film aficionados but also for those seeking a space to unwind, socialize, and engage with Dublin’s vibrant arts and culture scene.

The Lighthouse Cinema represents the epitome of what a modern, community-focused cinema should be. With its eclectic film offerings, engaging special events, and welcoming atmosphere, it has become an essential destination for anyone who appreciates the power and beauty of the cinematic arts. As the Lighthouse Cinema continues to thrive and evolve, it remains a shining beacon of independent film and culture in Smithfield Market, Dublin 7, and beyond.