Heritage week to mark renovation of Quiet Man railway station

Pictured at the launch of Ballyglunin Railway Station Heritage Week were Mark Gibson, Joe Boyle, Maura Flannery, Luke Cassidy, Marie Heneghan, Eileen O'Connell (Killererin Heritage Society), Sean Conneely (Skehanagh Heritage Society) and Pascal Cassidy. Photo: Johnny Ryan Photography.

Following the successful fundraising initiative to put a new roof on the Quiet Man railway station in Ballyglunin, it is now planned to hold a heritage week to coincide with the renovation of this landmark building.

Recently, it was announced that the €30,000 target had been hit for a new roof at Ballyglunin Railway Station – work is due to commence around the middle of September.

But in the meantime, those behind the fundraising project are now organising a heritage week that centres round the railway station which was made famous during the making of The Quiet Man Movie.

Those attending the heritage week, which kicks off next Sunday and continues on to Friday, August 25, are more than likely to hear mention of the likes of actors John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara and Barry O’Sullivan during the course of the events that are taking place.

And Mark Gibson of the Ballyglunin Railway Restoration Project told The Connacht Tribune that the contractors for the replacement of the roof at the station have been appointed following the fund raising initiative.

In recent months they set about trying to raise sufficient funds for the replacement of the roof of the famous railway station and they achieved their aim – and even exceeded it. It means that now works can commence and will be completed over a three week period.

But the long term objective is to restore the whole railway station so that it can become a huge tourist attraction in North Galway – as it stands, it draws a considerable number of tourists who are avid fans of the 1950s movie.

“Work on the roof of the railway station will commence around mid-September and when completed, it is hoped that it will become the venue for several events at the station. It will be ideal for theatre or music events,” Mark Gibson added.

When the fund raising appeal for the new roof was launched, it attracted donations from various parts of the world including the Canary Islands, various parts of America and Canada. The fact that it was featured in several scenes of the movie provided the fund raising initiative with a life of its own.

“The mention of The Quiet Man brought about a huge amount of support from all over the world but the initiative was also well supported locally and that cannot be forgotten.

“Once the roof has been completed by early October, it is the plan to provide a tea room at the station next year. We want it to be a major focal point in the area,” Mark Gibson said.

Meanwhile, the National Heritage Week at Ballyglunin Railway Station begins with nothing other than a bug hunt for children on Sunday with the official opening on Monday evening. It includes a presentation of a journey through Irish railways presented by Frank Dawson.

The following day there will be a bus tour which will take passengers to historic sites in and around Ballyglunin, Kilmoylan and Corofin during the course of the afternoon.

Historian Jarlath Canney from Tuam along with Dr Elaine O’Riordan of NUI Galway will also give talks at the station of industrial heritage and natural heritage in the area on the closing Friday of the event.

The Ballyglunin Railway Restoration Project committee will also host a presentation by Jimmy Laffey of the Skehana & District Heritage Group titled Griffiths Valuation of Tenements of the general Ballyglunin area.

This is a free event and will be held in the Storehouse at Ballyglunin Railway Station next Tuesday, August 22, commencing at 8pm.

The presentation will include explanations of the administrative structures of the time for the civil parishes of Killererin, Kilmoylan and Abbeyknockmoy, understanding the detail contained in the valuations, advising how they can be accessed as well as some detailed examples from local townlands. In addition early maps of the locality will be on display and information hand-outs will be available for all attendees.

This is important to persons wishing to trace their family history and generate family trees primarily because much of the detail of census information up to 1901 has been lost.

The information contained in the valuation contains detailed data on each plot including the occupier’s name, the immediate lessor’s name, land or property description, acreage, rateable valuations of land and buildings and these are accompanied by very detailed maps showing the locations of properties and buildings in the mid-1800s.