Barry's amusements boss Frank dies at 78
Published 24/12/2007 | 07:46
Frank Trufelli, the man who kept Ulster children amused down several generations, has died.
He was the owner of the celebrated Barry's Amusement Arcade in Portrush, the largest funfair in Ireland.
For nearly 80 years parents made annual pilgrimages to the port just to give their offspring rides on Barry's famous Big Dipper - the original one was imported from Germany just before the war - and on the funfair's carousel.
Even during the troubles that went on for 30 years and forced other entertainment to go dark, Barry's stayed open every summer and was the first stop for every Sunday School excursion to the coast.
Frank (78) was the son of circus director Francesco and trapeze artist Evelyn. His parents were of Italian origin and they toured Ireland every year and put down permanent roots in Portrush in the 1920s.
He toured Europe in search of the latest rides and was a committed funfair enthusiast all his life.
"There are grown up children all over the world who talk about my carousel as part of their happy formative years and that makes me proud," he once said.
Even when developers tried to talk him into selling Barry's, right on the coastline in the centre of the resort as a building site, Frank remained faithful to the amusement arcade which was his family's tradition.
And it was Barry's that made Portrush famous as a holiday centre - a funfair whose trademark for years was the giant Laughing Clown at the entrance which attracted passers-by, young and old, inside for a ride on the ghost train, the dodgems, the hobby horses and the miniature racing cars.
" Just for a little while, children - and their parents too - could forget the real world and indulge themselves in a fantasy land at Barry's," was Frank's boast.