Acting legend Gabriel Byrne has thrown his support behind a campaign to restore a train station that featured in an iconic Irish film.
Ballyglunin station in Co Galway is also affectionately known as ‘The Quiet Man station’ after it featured in the classic movie starring Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne.
Byrne has joined fellow Irish superstar Liam Neeson in supporting a crowdfunding project to prevent the station falling into a state of disrepair. The roof is already crumbling and is in danger of falling through.
The station has been closed since 1976 and project leaders have warned that their dreams of restoring it could be in jeopardy if they fail to meet their fundraising target by next Tuesday when the crowdfunding comes to an end.
They have raised €20,000 so far but need to reach the target of €30,000 or they will have to return all donations.
Byrne has written a letter of support saying: “The opening of ‘The Quiet Man’ in Ballyglunin station is unforgettable. [Actor] Barry Fitzgerald leads John Wayne and us, the audience, through a magic door into a mythical underworld, called Innisfree.
“I’ve long admired the film, and as well as narrating Se Merry Doyle’s superb documentary [‘Dreaming The Quiet Man’], I have presented ‘The Quiet Man’ at the Metropolitan museum in New York.
“The image of Ballyglunin station is known to millions all over the world and is part of film archaeology.
“Please donate to www.ballyglunin.com or fundit.ie and help to restore this iconic building not just for us, but for future generations who will come to love The Quiet Man.”
If they are successful organisers hope to turn Ballyglunin into a tourism hotspot for fans of the 1952 classic movie – just like Cong where much of the movie is shot.
Campaign spokesman Mark Gibson said: “There is huge potential here and there’s massive support here in the village and in nearby places like Tuam and Athenry to get this up-and-running.
“Our priority at the moment is to get to our €30,000 target in the next few days, and then we hope to be in a position to open the renovated station up to tourists by the summer of next year. There’s huge interest, and we’ve already been approached by a cruise company about it, who see it as a possible day destination for passengers who dock in Galway.
As with most crowdfunded projects, people are given rewards for their donations depending on the amount they have given.
Click here for more information or to make a donation
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling