The Baths & Recreation Halls

The story of the “Pavilion” as it was known until recently, began on the 29th of December 1900. The chairman of the Skerries Baths and Recreation Company Ltd. signed a lease with the Holmpatrick Estate on that day, which allowed the company to build Baths and a Concert, or amusement hall on the South Strand. They were built by a Skerries man William H. Flannagan.

The sea water for the baths was pumped into the building from the sea. There were five male and four female bathrooms, as well as a heated sea water plunge bath. This bath was used to teach swimming and continued in operation up to about 1922.

On the 20th of September 1911 the Skerries Baths and Recreation Company Ltd. went into voluntary liquidation and William Flannagan’s offer for the company was accepted by the shareholders. He paid £850, out of which the bank had to be paid £640. This debt occurred because the full capital had not been subscribed to the company.

The rear section of the Recreation Hall housed the power plant of the “Electricity Works” which was also started by William Flannagan in 1914. A contract with the County Council to supply street lighting for the town is dated 28th of July 1915. Skerries was one of the earliest towns in Ireland to be electrified.

On the 20th of December 1909 the first cinema in Dublin “The Volta” was opened under the management of James Joyce. Shortly afterwards films were shown in Skerries in the “Recreation Hall”. The hall was also used for concerts, plays and travelling shows, in which many famous artists made an early appearance. John McCormack, Percy French, Jimmy O’Dea and a young Cyril Cusack performed here as did Anew McMaster, Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir. Most of the great travelling shows of the day returned to the “Recreation Hall” each summer.

In 1945 a new cinema, the “Pavilion”, was built on the site of the roller skating rink, which had replaced the Baths. The hall was extended and rebuilt and opened in 1949 as the “Pavilion Ballroom”. For the next thirty years the ballroom and cinema were the mainstay of entertainment in Skerries.

Times and fashion change and television and disco dancing brought about the demise of the “Pavilion”. In the 1980s the wheel came full turn when the cinema was converted into a swimming pool. When the pool again closed down the building was used for a time as a storage area and furniture auction room. Finally it was demolished and replaced by an apartment building consisting of twelve luxury apartments and called “The Tides”.