Controversial Galway cinema on shortlist for architecture award

Pálás cinema is selected in two categories for World Architecture Festival Awards

The creator, architect and owners of Galway’s Pálás arthouse cinema have expressed “delight” that the building has been shortlisted for an international architecture award.

The cinema, which has proven controversial following an €8.4 million State investment and was the focus of a Comptroller and Auditor General report, has been shortlisted in two categories for this year’s World Architecture Festival Awards.

Architect Tom de Paor, who designed the three-storey building, said it was “lovely” to know it had been selected for the shortlist in two categories – culture- completed buildings – and use of colour. Final results will be known in late autumn.

"It is a wonderful vindication of Tom's vision and of the long years that we and Galway gave to make a beautiful building," the cinema's founder, film-maker Lelia Doolan, said.


Ms Doolan, who has described it as a "tower of song", donated the 22 resin-coated windows created by artist Patrick Scott that have been installed in the building.

“I am delighted also for Element Pictures, which took on and finished this project,”she said.

Element Pictures director Andrew Lowe said the shortlisting was testament to the "talent and singular vision" shown by Mr de Paor.

Element Pictures invested in the completion of the building after delays caused by site and contractor difficulties that resulted in a cost overrun of more than €2 million.

Last year the Comptroller and Auditor General criticised a lack of oversight by State agencies that invested some €8.4 million in the project.

The cinema will be a key venue at this year's Galway Film Fleadh, which published its full programme on Thursday evening.

More than 20 films in the 107 film programme will have premieres at the event, with documentaries on themes such as migration and Brexit, while Ross Whitaker charts the comeback of professional boxer Katie Taylor.

Film fleadh director of programming Will Fitzgerald noted that 55 of the films are by first-time feature directors.

The Galway Film Fleadh runs from July 10th to 15th.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times