THE West of Ireland’s most famous rail station is now in danger of being lost forever . . . unless funds can be raised urgently to put a roof on the building.
Ballyglunin Railway Station – located on the old line between Tuam and Athenry – was the iconic train stop for the return of Sean Thornton, aka John Wayne, to ‘take over’ his family farm, back in the Summer of 1951 during the making of The Quiet Man.
However, the last half-century of Irish weather has taken a terrible toll on the iconic railway station – situated on the edge of the old Blake Estate and beside the banks of the Abbert River – with the future of the building itself now in serious doubt.
The Ballyglunin Community Development Charity – established to try and save and develop the station as a tourism and historic hub – are now embarking on what they call a ‘crowd funding campaign’ to raise €30,000 for the re-roofing of the building.
Re-christened as Castletown Station for the purpose of The Quiet Man story, the arrival of film-stars such as John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara and Barry Fitzgerald transformed the quaint Ballyglunin setting into a place of wonder for the locals during the Summer of 1951.
Now though, wonder must be replaced by practicality, as the local committee have been advised that the old station is in danger of collapse unless a re-roofing job is carried out as a matter of urgency.
Every year – and especially during the summer season – hundreds of people visit the old station but unless the building is made safe, it will have to close its doors to the public.
The ‘official ambassador’ for the new ‘crowd funding’ initiative is Saw Doctors’ star, Leo Moran, who has pleaded for everyone’s help to save the building.
“We need everyone’s help to save this iconic building so that future generations can enjoy and understand our past.
“The local committee has huge plans to develop this amazing location however; the roof is now at serious risk of collapse. If nothing is done, we’ll be saying goodbye to an important slice of Irish history,” said Leo Moran.
The official crowd funding campaign is being launched this evening (Thursday) at the Ballyglunin Station (7pm) where details of the 42-day fund raising campaign will be announced.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.