Ballyglunin Railway Station is a heritage rail attraction near the village of Ballyglunin in County Galway. It was first built in 1860 and served as the town’s main means of transport for more than a century. It is now a wonderful visitor attraction and one of the best heritage sites to visit in Galway.

The station gained notoriety when it featured prominently in the 1952 movie ‘The Quiet Man‘, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. The film, directed by John Ford, tells the story of an American boxer who returns to his ancestral home in Ireland and falls in love with a fiery local woman. The station was used as the location for Castletown, the fictional village where Wayne’s character arrives and departs.

The station has a rich history that spans from the 19th century to the present day. It was part of the Athenry and Tuam Railway, which was established in 1854 to connect the towns of Athenry and Tuam. The station opened for passenger traffic in 1860, with just one platform on the east side of the track. It was later upgraded by the Great Southern and Western Railway, which added a second platform, a waiting room, an office, a lamp room, and a footbridge over the tracks.

The station witnessed some notable events during the Civil War period, such as the raid on a Limerick-Sligo goods train by anti-Treaty forces in 1922. The raiders seized various items from the train, including barrels of Guinness, bags of wheat, and Christmas cakes. They also attempted to send a crewless train into Tuam with the regulator open, but it was stopped by a signalman.

The station closed for passenger services in 1976, and for freight services in 1987. It fell into disrepair and dereliction until a group of local volunteers formed the Ballyglunin Community Development Company in 2004. They began to restore the station back to its former glory, with the help of grants, donations, and crowdfunding campaigns. They also established the Ballyglunin Station Trust, a charity that aims to preserve and promote the station as a heritage site.

The station reopened as a visitor attraction in 2017, after extensive renovations that restored its original features and added new facilities. Visitors can explore an outstanding example of a late 19th century Irish train station and listen to the stories of arrivals and departures from this very platform. They can also retrace the steps of John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man and take photos through the famous green doors of the waiting room.

The station is not only a heritage site, but also a biodiversity park, a community hub, and an events venue. It has six acres of award-winning biodiversity land that hosts various plants and animals. It also has a fully serviced meeting space and a unique events venue that can accommodate theatre productions, art exhibitions, workshops, and festivals. The station offers high-speed broadband, parking, printing, office space, and hot-desking facilities for remote workers and businesses.

Ballyglunin Railway Station is open to visitors all year round for self-guided tours, events, and community use. It is the perfect destination for fans of The Quiet Man who want to experience a piece of Hollywood history in the heart of Co. Galway.


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Ballyglunin Railway Station



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