The Malahide community rejoiced on Wednesday as the Casino Model Railway Museum finally opened its doors, following a €4m restoration project.
Fingal County Council oversaw works on the heritage building at the entrance to the town, which is the only thatched cottage Orne of its type in the north county.
It has been carefully conserved, restored and extended to become a modern visitor attraction that is now the permanent home of the Fry Model Railway collection, which was previously exhibited at Malahide Castle.
The iconic collection, which includes more than 300 model trains built by engineer and railway enthusiast Cyril Fry, is back on public display after almost a decade.
Hailed as a national treasure, it was created over a 40-year period from the 1920s and includes a miniature replica of every piece of rolling stock that ever ran on a rail track in Ireland during that time.
The €4m scheme was funded through the council’s capital programme and a generous donation of €1.5m from the late Michael Gaffney, of Malahide.
As someone who grew up in Malahide, Mayor of Fingal Cllr Eoghan O’Brien (FF) said it was a momentous moment for him to reopen the heritage attraction.
He said: “The redevelopment of the Casino has been one of the most eagerly-anticipated projects in the Malahide area, so it fills me with pride to be able to stand here today to open this wonderful heritage property.
“It goes without saying that the Casino Model Railway Museum will be a spectacular amenity for local and visitors, both young and old, to enjoy for years to come.
“I would like to pay tribute to the Malahide Group, comprising GV Wright, Colette Smith, Michael Howard, Matt Ryan Jnr, Nora Owen, Matt McNulty and Alfie O’Dowd, who worked tirelessly over the years to ensure this project got to this point today.”
County architect Fionnuala May revealed that the brief was to marry the historic original cottage with a “complementary new building”.
Six people will be employed at the new museum, which is open to the public from this Thursday, January 23.
All visitor information can be found on the official website at modelrailwaymuseum.ie.