On the night of Easter Tuesday April 21 1981 Patrick Hillery, President of Ireland opened the Belltable Arts Centre in O'Connell Street, Limerick. The opening performance was Brian Friel's 'Faith Healer' presented by the Abbey Theatre.
President Hillery praised the Belltable Arts Centre organisers for,
Their stimulating breath of vision
and admired how the non-profit making theatre, art gallery, and film club will be open all year round and the ambition to be,
A centre where every artistic endeavour will find a worthy home
President Hillery at the Opening of the Belltable Arts Centre in Limerick (1981)
The theatre is hoped to be a popular venue for amateur and visiting professional theatre companies. Though the arts centre cost £118,000 to set up, organisers predict they will be able to run it on a projected budget of £54,000 pounds a year from box office receipts, rents, snack bars, film club and subscriptions.
The site of the Belltable Arts Centre on Limerick's O'Connell Street was previously known as the Coliseum and the Redemptorist Confraternity Hall. The new arts centre was named after a Dutch Catholic Henry Hubert Belletable, a Belgian army officer who founded the Holy Arch Confraternity previously located there.
An RTÉ News report by Conor Fennell and Michael Walsh.