THE iconic train station from The Quiet Man is to be saved after Hollywood stars backed a crowdfunding campaign to raise €30,000 to restore to the station.
Ballyglunin train station in Co. Galway is famous for its leading role in the John Ford classic The Quiet Man as 'Castletown' train station.
The film stars the late John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
But 66 years after the film was made, the station has fallen into disrepair stirring a campaign to refurbish it to its former Hollywood glory.
A crowdfunding campaign to raise restoration funds began in May and has now raised €32,000 for the station, which has been maintained by the Ballyglunin Community Development Company (BCDC) since 2004.
Initially establishing a charity to save the station, BCDC currently hold a long-term leased on the station from CIE, the Irish transport provider, which allows the group to restore and develop the station.
Speaking to The Irish Post, BCDC spokesperson Mark Gibson said: "Our main objective is to conserve the train station as it's an integral part of the community.
"We want to develop the station as a heritage centre and an arts centre, funding that by attracting tourism to the area.
"Our main priority now we've reached our funding goal is to secure the building, to restore the roof to stop the rain coming in and destroying the conservation work we've done on the inside already, and to restore the old sash windows.
"We also plan to install some interpretation materials, to retell the story of the train station so we can have a heritage centre and museum there," he added.
"We also want to use it as a place for the community to come, for art, or cookery and use it as a place for learning and sharing experiences.
"We also have a beautiful cut stone building just beside the station and we're in the process of developing that as an arts theatre. We see it as a cultural, art and learning space."
Mr Gibson also said that the community hope the restoration of the station will encourage more tourists to visit.
"The legacy of The Quiet Man is very much alive, and it's amazing how many people actually come to visit it, but because of the condition of the roof, we can't let people into the building," he said.
"However, we believe if we have a tourism product to offer, the numbers of people visiting will grow exponentially."
Previously, Hollywood stars Maureen O'Hara, Gabriel Byrne, and Liam Neeson pledged their support for the restoration of The Quiet Man station.
Writing in 2013, The Quiet Man actress Maureen O'Hara wrote: "The wonderful Ballyglunin Railway Station is one of those special locations used in The Quiet Man that helped bring the cosy village of Innisfree to life.
"John Ford loved the name Castletown used for the station and I can still remember sitting in the last carriage of that grand old steam train waiting for John Wayne to come and save me.
"I hope everyone will join the cause and help save the Ballyglunin Railway Station.
"It truly really is part of Ireland's great cinematic history."
Gabriel Byrne and Liam Neeson were also among those to pledge their support for the crowdfunding campaign.
Both had pleaded for funds to urgently repair the iconic location.
“The opening of The Quiet Man in Ballyglunin station is unforgettable," Byrne said.
"Barry Fitzgerald leads John Wayne and us the audience through a magic door into a mythical otherworld called Innisfree.
"I’ve long admired the film and as well as narrating Sé Merry Doyle’s superb documentary 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," Byrne added.
Liam Neeson said over his professional career, 60 directors have said The Quiet Man features in their top five films.
"I have been a professional actor for over 40 years, and during that time I have had the great fortune to have made over 70 films with many world renowned directors," he said.
"Of all those directors, I would say 60 of them have said that John Ford’s The Quiet Man is in their top five list of favorite and influential films.
"The movie has become part of Irish folklore and is justifiably and rightly called a classic film," he added.
"The Ballyglunin train station in Co. Galway played a significant part in that film.
"The station is now showing its age, and requires urgent repair. We must save this iconic building, otherwise it will be lost."