Fry Model Railway plan is back on track again

by Emma Nolan

THE long awaited return of the Fry Model Railway to Malahide is set for next year.
The council confirmed that refurbishments to the Casino in Malahide village are to accommodate the display and interpretation of the Fry Model Railway collection.
The model railway left Malahide following a €10 million revamp of its former home at Malahide Castle. Since then, there has been a huge local effort to bring it back.
A large donation from the late Michael Gaffney, who died in 2012, has allowed the council to pursue the project, which will see the Fry Model Railway returned to the town as well as saving the 17th century thatched Casino building, which has been vacant since 2004, from ruin.
Mr Gaffney was a farmer and well-known figure in Malahide.
The Fry Model Railway was bought by Dublin Tourism in 1976 from Cyril Fry’s widow. The model railway, which was built in the 1920s and 1930s, was overhauled in the 1980s to become the largest model railway in Europe.
It opened to the public in Malahide Castle in 1988. However, with the redevelopment of the castle, it was planned to relocate the model railway at Bus Aras in Dublin city centre, which would have resulted in the loss of a popular tourist attraction for Malahide.
Cllr Anthony Lavin (FG) told The Gazette that this is a “significant moment in the ongoing Fry Model Railway and Casino project, which was made possible by the generous contribution of the late Michael Gaffney”.
He added: “I would also like to thank his trustees and the chief executive of Fingal County Council who are working to ensure the successful completion of the project.
“I look forward to the commencement of the roof repairs, including new thatching, with completion of this project in 2017.”
A total refurbishment of the building in line with best conservation practice is set to begin this summer.
The refurbishment of the separate outbuilding to accommodate a small cafe and developing a small single-storey extension to provide ancillary support services is also planned.
Landscaping works will provide an entrance courtyard to the exhibition building and the external amenity space.
County architect Fionnuala May said it was hoped to have the exhibition opened next year and that much of the work on the project would be “front-loaded” for this summer.

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