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Casino Model Railway Museum in Malahide Opens Tomorrow

The new Casino Model Railway Museum in Malahide will open to the public tomorrow, January 22 at 11am. This is following restoration work on the historic Casino building and the conservation of the Fry Model Railway Collection.

The Casino building is located next to Malahide Dart Station and is also in close proximity to a bus stop. It is the only cottage Orne of its type in Fingal and is of significant historical importance to the area’s architectural heritage.

For the past eight years, it has been carefully conserved, restored and extended by Fingal County Council. Now it’s set to become a visitor attraction, being the permanent home of the Fry Model Railway collection. Previously housed in Malahide Castle, the exhibition is of great historical importance not only to Malahide but to model train enthusiasts worldwide – containing models of every single piece of rolling stock that ever ran on a railway in Ireland.

Speaking to Travel Ireland at a special preview of the new museum to press yesterday (Jan 20), Mayor of Fingal Cllr Eoghan O’Brien said: “I grew up in Malahide myself. This house is an iconic landmark locally. The Fry Model Collection – then housed in Malahide Castle – was something I visited myself as a child very regularly. So, it’s great to see those two pieces of Malahide history coming together as one.”

On top of housing the Fry Model collection, the museum also exhibits some other gems for model train enthusiasts. Speaking about this, County Architect at Fingal County Council Fionnuala May said: “We have the collection which was made by Cyril Fry [a former railway engineer and draughtsman]. Those models are not for running. They’re museum pieces. So, in order to animate the exhibition, we have made a running model which is completely brand new.”

Lord Mayor of Fingal Cllr Eoghan O’Brien and his son Tadgh aged 3.

This new addition sees various small-scale replicas of Irish trains chugging through models of recognisable sights including the River Liffey, Malahide, Bray and Mallow. As well as this, the museum includes an education room for attending school groups, a collection of Irish railway memorabilia, an interactive table providing history on train services in the country and an area devoted to models related to the circus in Ireland.

The project, which has cost approximately €4m to deliver, has been funded through Fingal County Council’s capital programme and a generous donation of €1.5m from the late Mr Micheál Gaffney of Malahide. O’Brien told Travel Ireland: “It really has been a labour of love for our architect department as well as a number of the local councillors, myself included, to get this from the inception stage to being open to the public. It’s absolutely world class and I think it will stretch far beyond model train enthusiasts.”

Speaking on this, Fingal County Council Chief Executive AnnMarie Farrelly told Travel Ireland: “I think the model railway that’s on display here will be popular with both young and old. Those who have familiarity with the old railway in Ireland will appreciate the unique work that went into developing the models. In addition, we have some attractions for younger children who will be interested in seeing the railway at work.”

Regarding the new attraction, Director of Economic, Enterprise and Tourism Development Emer O’Gorman said in a statement: “The Casino Model Railway Museum is a wonderful addition to Fingal County Council’s heritage property portfolio, which includes Malahide Castle and Gardens, Newbridge House and Ardgillan Castle. Tourism development is a vital element of our department’s work and this new property will be a great addition to our offerings for residents as well as visitors from both home and abroad.”

Speaking on the impact the museum will have on its community, O’Brien said: “For local small businesses, anything that’s different and attracts people is a positive. It’s right beside the railway station. The bus stop is just up the road. So, it’s easily accessible and very much something that will bring people from far and wide but that the locals will enjoy immensely.”

Farrelly added: “The Casino Model Railway Museum is going to be a really important asset to Malahide. We already have an established tourism offering at Malahide Castle and Demesne. That’s one of the most popular attractions in Dublin. So, the fact that this casino is closer to the village I think is going to provide an integrated tourism offering. People will travel to the castle, to the demesne and then walk to the village to see the offering here.”

Fingal County Council has awarded the contract for the operation of the Casino Model Railway Museum to Shannon Heritage who, by working closely with Fingal County Council, are committed to ensuring the museum’s success as an attraction for domestic and international visitors. Six people will be employed at the new museum.

All visitor information can be found on the museum’s official website at www.modelrailwaymuseum.ie.

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