Tuesday 17 September 2019

Operator appointed for Fry Model Railway exhibition

Announcing the operator for the Casino Model Railway Museum, Malahide. Picture by Shane O’Neill, SON Photographic
Announcing the operator for the Casino Model Railway Museum, Malahide. Picture by Shane O’Neill, SON Photographic

John Manning

Shannon Heritage who already run Malahide Castle and Demesne are to operate Malahide's newest attraction as the Fry Model Railway returns to the village to be housed in the beautifully refurbished, 'Casino' thatched cottage.

Fingal County Council is delighted to announce that the contract for the operation of the Fry Model Railway Museum at the beautifully restored Casino building in Malahide has been awarded to Shannon Heritage.

The restoration and extension of the Casino was completed in April, paving the way for the installation of the Fry Model Railway to its new permanent home.

The Casino building has been vacant since 2004 but thanks to significant investment from Fingal County Council, as well as a generous bequest from local resident Michéal Gaffney, it has been restored to its former glory.

The Casino Model Railway Museum brings to three the number of Fingal County Council Heritage properties managed by Shannon Heritage. They have managed Malahide Castle and Gardens since 2012 and took on the management Newbridge House and Farm in Donabate last year.

The Fry Model Railway was initially constructed in the 1920s-1930s, 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.

Mayor of Fingal Cllr Eoghan O'Brien said: 'This project is one of the most eagerly anticipated in the Malahide area and I am delighted to learn that it will be open to the general public shortly.

'The restoration and conservation of the Casino building was completed earlier this year and now, with the awarding of the contract to Shannon Heritage, this wonderful historic building will soon be open for everyone to enjoy. It will be a great addition to the town not only for local residents but also visitors to the area.'

Cllr O'Brien added: 'It is also timely to remember the generous €1.5m donation from the late Michéal Gaffney towards the restoration of the Casino building.

'I want to also pay particular tribute to the 'Malahide Group' who did a lot of work behind the scenes that helped massively with bringing this project to this point - GV Wright, Colette Smith, Michael Howard, Matt Ryan Jr, Nora Owen, Matt McNulty and Alfie O'Dowd.

'The Casino and Fry Model Railway will be a wonderful amenity for locals and visitors to enjoy and I look forward to officially opening this iconic Malahide landmark to the public later this year.'

Fingal County Council Interim Chief Executive, AnnMarie Farrelly said: 'We are delighted that this project has reached another significant milestone with the appointment of Shannon Heritage to manage the operation of the new Casino Model Railway Museum. Since Shannon Heritage took over the management of Malahide Castle and Newbridge House and Farm, both attractions have undergone a transformation in respect of experiences on offer and the volume of visitors each year.

'We look forward to working in partnership with Shannon Heritage and utilising their marketing, relationships and management expertise to develop the Casino Model Railway Museum.'

Fingal County Council's Director of Enterprise and Economic Development, Emer O'Gorman, said: 'The opening of the Fry Model Museum in the beautifully restored Casino building will be a significant addition to the tourist offering in Malahide. It is wonderful that the public will now have access to this unique building which is a very welcome addition our portfolio of heritage properties around the County.'

Fingal Independent