THE derelict train station from The Quiet Man is to become a major tourist hub from St Patrick’s Day next year, following a huge €80,000 grant from the Irish Government.
Ballyglunin train station in Co. Galway became iconic for its prominent role in the 1952 John Ford classic – but sadly fell into disrepair in the six decades since.
Luckily, the famous location was saved from dereliction just over three months ago when the Ballyglunin Community Development Company (BCDC) raised over €30,000 (£26,925) – with a little help from Hollywood stars Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne along the way.
But organisers now have even more reason to celebrate after learning that Ballyglunin is to receive a further €80,000 (£71,802) from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
The cash injection was secured after the BCDC made a successful application to the Town and Village Renewal Scheme this year.
Initially established as a charity to save the station, the BCDC currently holds a long-term lease on the station from CIE, the Irish transport provider, which allows the group to restore and develop the station.
The group said the first stage of their renovation work – including a new roof – will get under way early next week and last for about six weeks.
A second stage of renovations funded by the Irish Government’s new grant will then take place, involving the restoration of the train station’s iconic interior.
BCDC spokesman Mark Gibson said there were also plans to open up a cafe and tour centre to teach visitors about the station’s link with The Quiet Man, which starred Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne.
"It's been a very good few months in terms of securing the future of the station,” said Mr Gibson. “Our first priority is to secure the building and to prevent further deterioration and that will happen from next week when building work on the new roof starts.
"The second step will be then to look at the interior, with plans to open up a cafe and other facilities and have tour guides in place, so we can really make this a major tourist attraction.
"We've been applying for years to the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, so it was a fantastic and surprising boost in recent days to hear about the €80,000 grant.
“That will be a massive help and our hope now is to be able to open up to tourists by St. Patrick's Day of next year."
Mr Gibson thanked the local community in Ballyglunin for their support and said improved access to the site provided by Galway’s new M17 motorway was yet another boost.
He added: "We want the station to look just how it did in The Quiet Man, so all the renovation work will stay as faithful as possible to the movie. It will look authentic when it's finished."