CASINO MODEL RAILWAY MUSEUM
What: The NEW Casino Model Railway Museum
Where: The Casino, Malahide (beside Malahide Station & railway bridge)
Two well-loved Malahide landmarks have been joined together as one fantastic destination for tourists, locals, children, adults and train enthusiasts alike. Thanks to the generosity of the late Micheal Gaffney (a local who bequeathed €1.5million to the project), the Fry Model railway will now be housed inside the Casino House, a Malahide landmark for over 200 years. This project not only protects these two marvellous attractions, but also forges an important link between the Castle and Malahide Village for tourists. The location of the Casino building, with the model railway inside means thousands of tourists, normally bused in and out of the Castle without venturing further afield, will be drawn down to the Fry Model railway and into the Village itself. Malahide will also see a significant increase in tourists through the wonderfully and recently refurbished Malahide Train Station as they travel by DART and Suburban rail to see the Model Railway, providing a great opportunity for local shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.
The Fry Model Railway
The Fry Model Railway is a large (2,500 sq ft.) working miniature rail display, 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.
In 1976 The Fry Model Railway Collection was bought by Dublin Tourism from the late Cyril Fry's widow. During the early 1980's the collection was overhauled and a new layout built at Inchicore Works by retired CIE craftsman, Tommy Tighe. The collection was eventually relocated to Malahide Castle and opened to the public in July 1988. The Railway was a great success, and became a well-loved local treasure, until its closure in 2010 due to funding and the redevelopment project at Malahde castle. Now thanks to a long running campaign on the Enjoy Malahide Facebook page (www.facebook.com/enjoymalahide) and The Fry Model Railway For Malahide Facebook page (www.facebook.com/FryModelRailwayForMalahide), plus the hard work and pressure of locals, including local council and government representatives it has been decided that the Fry Model Railway will be housed in the stunning Casino building on Malahide.
If the return of the Fry Model Railway to Malahide which was its home for years is not cause for celebration enough, what makes this development even better is that it protects a very important building in Malahide which has remained vacant for a number of years and fallen into dis-repair. The decision to rehouse the Fry Model Railway to Malahide ensures the restoration of the Casino building to its former glory, and the 1.9 acres around it as well as the walled gardens. The project will now include the addition of a coffee shop which will create an extra six to eight jobs adjacent to Malahide train station.
The Casino was probably the most photographed house in the country. Built in the late 17th Century it was originally a shooting lodge for the Talbot Family (of Malahide Castle). Vacant since 2004, its future had become a cause of concern for the locals, as what was once a beautiful thatched cottage, slowly fell into disrepair and seemly left to the mercy of vandals. This has all changed now that its purchase has been confirmed for the purpose of rehousing the Fry Model Railway.
Enjoy Malahide have been campaigning on behalf of the Casino for a number of years, and in June 2011 in an impassioned plea to Fingal County Council, An Taisce, Dublin Tourism and the Heritage Council, we asked "Is there any purpose to which this jewel of a building could be put for the people and community of Malahide? Almost 40 years ago the bold and enlightened decision was taken to acquire Malahide Castle and its grounds from the Talbot family. It was an investment that has yielded extraordinary benefits to the community." We are now so glad that we are approaching a wonderful resolution to this story, its something that will be treasured for many many years to come and we must give recognition to the extremely hard work of Gerry Rafferty of Malahide Tidy Towns, to local TD Alan Farrell, and special thanks to Senator Darragh O'Brien who we were in correspondence with on almost a weekly basis throughout the process.
Casino Lodge is still in reasonable condition and will lend itself to full restoration. The intention is to retain all the historic features as well as the thatch and to restore the lodge and its curtilage.
Project Development Overview
The project will have four major components:
- The construction of a new museum building to house the Fry Model Collection and other children’s and educational displays, a shop and visitor toilets;
- The restoration, preservation and conservation of the historic Casino Lodge thatched building;
- The professional conservation of the Fry models, the upgrading of the presentation, and particularly the interpretation of the Fry Collection and the layout;
- The treatment of the site as a heritage, educational and recreational amenity for the community of Malahide.
We shall update this page over the coming months, and look forward to the day when we can supply official opening hours and information for this stunning attraction.
Again we believe it is very important to pay a particular tribute to the late Michéal Gaffney whose generous financial support for the Casino and Fry Model Railway has made all this possible.