Castlerea Railway Museum was born from the boyhood dream of Sean Browne, a longtime railway enthusiast who devoted his interest to the preservation of a disappearing part of Irish transport history. Sean’s interest in railway began as a child during travels with his uncle John Joe Quinn on his horse and cart, and from rail trips from Castlerea to visit his sister working in Dublin. Sean recalls gazing out of the window at Mullingar Station, feasting his eyes on the hundreds of steam engines ready for the scrap heap, and dreaming of one day owning his own train.
That dream began to materialize when in 1994, Sean purchased a 1955 A55 diesel locomotive, which had been withdrawn from service from CIE, for scrap value. The 51 foot long, 14 foot high and 62 ton train made its final journey from Dublin to Castlerea on 7th July 1998, where a Railway Museum was built to house it and a large collection of associated railway memorabilia. The entire project cost £150,000, and the Museum was very gratefully assisted in these costs with grant aid of £35,000 received from the Roscommon Enterprise Board. Sponsorship was also kindly provided by John Molloy, and by James Flanagan & Sons, Tulsk.
Since the opening of the museum, Sean has sought to encourage and enthuse others to share this unique heritage experience and travel with him back in time along the railway network, and become enthralled with his vision of a historical era.
The Museum is located adjacent to the now closed Hell’s Kitchen Bar in Castlerea, Co Roscommon. The Bar once formed part of the Museum, and famously was the only pub of its kind in Ireland to uniquely feature a full-scale train within the bar!