It’s hard to imagine what Mary Kate and Sean in “The Quiet Man” would have made of crowdfunding.
They might have interpreted it as buying a round for the entire house.
Either way, the lovebirds from the monumental Irish American movie would for sure have approved of the fundraising effort that steamed into action yesterday.
That would be an international crowd funding campaign to raise the money necessary to save Ballyglunin Train Station in County Galway.
Ballyglunin is the real life train station that was the setting for the opening scene of the 1952 screen classic and the arrival of Sean Thornton, played by John Wayne, in a CIE steam train.
And in real life, the station – which is no longer active - is showing its age.
So much so that it is in danger of collapse.
In a statement, the Ballyglunin Community Development Charity - which to date has successfully restored the signal cabin and goods store at the station - said that in a bid to save the train station, an international crowd funding campaign was being launched yesterday, May 18.
“The aim is simple to raise enough funds to restore the roof on the station so as protect the building. This will allow the charity to progress to the next stage of the plan for the station,” said the statement.
Star of the popular Irish music group Saw Doctors, Leo Moran, who is an official ambassador for the crowd funding campaign, said: “We need everyone’s help to save this iconic building so that future generations can enjoy and understand our past.
“I am supporting this project because I believe that this iconic building has so much to offer. The Ballyglunin Community Development Charity has huge plans to develop this amazing location, however; the roof is now at serious risk of collapse. If nothing is done, we’ll be saying goodbye to an important slice of Irish history.”
The target amount to be raised is $33,600 (€30,000).
Read more: Why do people love "The Quiet Man" so much?
While the station is no longer active it could be again someday if plans for bringing back mothballed rails lines in the West of Ireland eventually come to fruition.
But for now, Ballyglunin is a quiet place.
Though not a deserted one.
It draws visitors from near and far and in the case of Paschal Cassidy, who is one of the organizers of the crowdfunding effort, it was the setting for his wedding last year.
“I fell in love with the station when myself and my wife Grace got married there last September,” said Paschal.
It was the first wedding ever to take place in the station, but likely not the last.
Assuming the unfolding effort to preserve it proves to be a success.
“We both have a huge fondness for the place and became involved with the local committee to help them restore it and keep it standing,” said Paschal.
“The station has been under the care of the committee for over ten years and they have done huge work to keep the station in good condition.
“We have been fundraising for the last few years to keep the place standing and in use for the local community.
“This year, we have to replace the roof on the station as it is in a really bad state of disrepair and is in danger of collapsing.”
“The station gets many visitors every year from far and wide and ‘The Quiet Man’ has a huge resonance with both Irish and foreign audiences. It would be a shame to let this piece of history fall to ruins,” he said.
The station is on the Limerick to Claremorris line and was originally opened in 1860 by the Waterford, Limerick and Western Railway.
It later became part of the Great Southern and Western Railway.
Ballyglunin was still in business when “The Quiet Man” was filmed, but fell victim to rail “rationalization” in the 1960s and 70s.
In more recent times, plans have been drawn up to reopen the Limerick-Claremorris line under the rather less than romantic title of the “Western Railway Corridor.”
The crash put paid to that idea, though the plan still exists and could begin rolling at a future point when finances become available.
In 2012, the local community established a charity with the vision of developing the old train station as an international center for heritage and culture.
Before her passing, Maureen O’Hara officially endorsed the work of the charity saying that “the Ballyglunin Train Station truly is part of Ireland’s great cinematic history.”
The crowdfunding campaign is being hosted on fundit.ie and was being officially launched by Leo Moran at 7 pm yesterday.
The fundraising effort will run until June 27.
More at www.ballyglunin.com.
This article originally featured in the Irish Echo. You can read more from them here.