Just over a year ago, I posted about Malahide's much loved "Fry Model Railway" closing down. At the time, it looked like Dublin Tourism (who had purchased it from Cyril Fry's widow in the 70s) was scouting for a new venue.
Since then a lot has happened.
In August last year, the Irish Times reported that an anonymous donor* had given the town €1.5m with the idea that The Casino (see picture below), a famous thatched house, would be bought and developed as a permanent home for the model railway, right beside its real-life equivalent in the village. The Casino, originally a shooting lodge for the Talbots of Malahide Castle, had been bought during the boom by now-NAMA-ed developer Gerry Gannon, originally with the plan to turn it into a restaurant and he was on board (choo-choo! sorry, couldn't resist) with this plan. Dublin Tourism claimed not to be aware of the offer at that same time.
Two weeks ago, Dublin Tourism announced plans to house the model railway underground in Busáras, by refurbishing the Eblana Theatre, at a cost of €1m. What?! It's hard to believe that they would be willing to spend €1m to house it in town, instead of taking free money to house it locally, while saving a landmark house as well.
There is now a Facebook campaign running, which asks people to contact their local representatives (some of whom are involved in the campaign) in support of using the bequest to keep the model railway in Malahide. I wish them all the best of luck.
*Later outed as a local farmer, Michael Gaffney, now deceased.