A WEALTHY pensioner who saved Europe's largest model railway collection for the people of north Dublin has left more than €17m in his will.
Patrick Michael Gaffney, a farmer who died aged 95 in January last year, left estate valued at €17.3m, it emerged yesterday.
Mr Gaffney is credited with keeping the Fry Model Railway in Malahide after he bequeathed €1.5m towards a project to re-house it in a 17th century building in the heart of the village.
The railway was bought by Dublin Tourism in 1976 from the late railway engineer Cyril Fry's widow and opened to the public in Malahide Castle in 1988.
However, following the redevelopment of the castle, it was planned to relocate the railway to Busaras in Dublin city.
Mr Gaffney donated €1.5m to help restore the 200-year-old abandoned Casino House in Malahide, which will house the collection.
The Fry Model Railway is a 232sqm working miniature rail display, initially built in the 1920s and developed and modernised to become the largest model railway collection in Europe.
The railway includes models of stations, landmarks, locations and Irish landscapes from throughout the 20th century.
It was overhauled in the 1980s and a new layout built at Inchicore Works by retired CIE craftsman, Tommy Tighe.
The model railway was closed in 2010 due to a lack of funding and the redevelopment project at Malahide, but will re-open to the public this summer at Casino House, which is located close to Malahide DART station.
The new centre will include children's and educational displays, and allow for the Fry models to be maintained and upgraded.
Mr Gaffney donated the money to restore Casino House on condition it housed the model railway.