22 March 2022

More than 30 new jobs will be created when popular Portrush amusements Barry’s reopens this Easter — albeit with new owners and under a new name.

Curry’s Fun Park in Salthill, Co Galway, has taken a long-term lease of the Portrush property, which was run by the Trufelli family for more than 100 years. The reopening of the site as Curry’s Fun Park Portrush will create around 30 jobs.

DUP councillor John McAuley told the Belfast Telegraph the town had not been the same since Barry’s closed in 2019. He said: “I’m delighted it’s opening again. It will bring the joy back to Portrush because it wasn’t the same without it.” Mr McAuley, who anticipates former mechanics for Barry’s will be re-employed, said the news was a shot in the arm for the area.

“I think the reopening will have a great impact on the economy there,” he added. “And I’m very sure when Curry’s are leasing it, they will make a good profit.”

Curry’s would not reveal how much it has spent on the site to date but described the cash injection as “massive”. A spokesperson said: “There has been a massive investment to get where we are. We will keep investing in infrastructure and new attractions. We will be hiring staff in the near future. A rough estimate would be hard to gauge just yet, but it will be in excess of 30.”

Mr McAuley voiced concerns last year over the possibility that the site could be used for residential purposes, calling for it to be protected and sold on the basis that it would be an attraction. “We needed an amusement centre and Barry’s was the best here,” he said.

Economist John Simpson said while the economic benefits would not be as great as they would have been had the site been used as a hotel, the move has “struck the right balance. Portrush is getting the balance right between a holiday resort and visitor resort, and I think this is a successful outcome for the town. The crowded weekends will return, and Barry’s, over its lifetime, had such a positive value on the town. Having it leased out to someone else for the same purpose will keep some of that value. Landlords get their rent, the amusements attract more customers. If I lived there, I would welcome the news.”

The complex had been marketed as ‘to let’ by Osborne King and McKibbin Commercial, generating significant interest from a range of occupiers in the leisure sector. Barry’s was bought by property developer Michael Herbert.

Owen Curry, from Curry’s Fun Park, said: “We are delighted to have secured such a prominent trading location that is very important to Portrush and the wider north coast area. As a family that is synonymous with the leisure industry, we can appreciate what the Trufelli family has brought to Portrush over the decades. We look forward to building on that great foundation. Portrush is an iconic destination in Northern Ireland for locals and visitors alike. We are very excited by the prospect of operating this legendary amusement park and we look forward to getting started.” He added that new attractions would feature.

Barry’s was opened in 1926 by Francesco Trufelli and Evelyn Chipperfield. It was put up for sale in 2019.

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