The iconic train station that featured in the Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne movie The Quiet Man is set to reopen.
It is hoped to provide a tourism boost for Ballyglunin, Co Galway, where the station is located.
The station has been closed since 1976 and had fallen into disrepair. For the past 15 years, a group of locals have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of its cultural and historic value.
They even gained support from major stars such as Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne.
They managed to raise nearly €33,000 to repair the roof thanks to a fundraising campaign. State funds from a rural social scheme and the Heritage Council have contributed a further €100,000, which the Ballyglunin Community Development Charity has used to install new windows and for rewiring.
Volunteers worked with a conservation architect to ensure that the restoration was as faithful to the original as possible.
All the hard work has paid off as the station is set to open during the May bank holiday weekend (the interior is still closed to visitors).
It is hoped that this will raise awareness of its importance as a community centre and lead to it being open to the public full time.
Trustee Mark Gibson said: “It’s one of those little gems. You couldn’t live with yourself if it was allowed to be boarded up. I would like to think that we could secure it for another 100 years.”
Paddy Mathews, head of the Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands brand at Fáilte Ireland, said: “We would be delighted to work with people to ensure that Ballyglunin railway station is promoted as part of the region.”
It is still undecided whether the station should re-open to commuter trains. Those in favour say it is on a line that was once a significant commuter route and could become so again – possibly providing a boost in tourism.
However, those against the idea say there are already plans for a 47km greenway along tracks that were once part of the railway.