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Historic Houses & Castles

Smock Alley Theatre, 1662

Smock Alley Theatre, 1662 was the first custom built theatre in Dublin City and still remains in substantially the same form, making it one of the most important sites in European theatre history.

Smock Alley Theatre, 1662 was the first theatre outside London to receive the title of Theatre Royal, but, because it had been built on land reclaimed from the Liffey, the building was unstable and the gallery collapsed twice. It was rebuilt in 1735.

The theatre closed in 1787. The building was then used as a whiskey store until Father Michael Blake bought it to set up a church. When the bell tolled in 1811, 18 years before the Catholic Emancipation, the first Catholic bell to ring in Dublin in nearly 300 years was heard. The façade boasts ornate stained glass windows and the original ceiling plasterwork remain in the Smock Alley as a witness of this time.

After a six year renovation, Smock Alley Theatre, 1662 reopened its doors as Dublin’s oldest newest theatre in May 2012. With three gorgeous venues, Smock Alley is the perfect place to spend a cultural evening out. They partner with many arts and cultural festivals to welcome audiences, engage with artists and create exciting cultural events. From Dublin Theatre Festival to First Fortnight and from IMRAM to the Irish literature Festival these partnerships are a vital part of their annual programme.

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