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Barry's will be open for summer in Portrush as 'strong interest' shown in sale

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Barry’s Amusements in Portrush will open to the public this summer

Barry’s Amusements in Portrush will open to the public this summer

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Ann Lamont voiced her delight that Barry’s Amusements will be open for the 2020 season

Ann Lamont voiced her delight that Barry’s Amusements will be open for the 2020 season

Patricia Quigley voiced her delight that Barry’s Amusements will be open for the 2020 season

Patricia Quigley voiced her delight that Barry’s Amusements will be open for the 2020 season

Corrie Parker voiced his delight that Barry’s Amusements will be open for the 2020 season

Corrie Parker voiced his delight that Barry’s Amusements will be open for the 2020 season

Barry’s Amusements in Portrush will open to the public this summer

Traders in Portrush have welcomed news that Barry's Amusements will open for the summer season.

The historic north coast tourist attraction was put up for sale as a going concern by the Trufelli family last year.

They reported they have had "strong interest" from potential buyers.

News that Barry's was reopening was welcomed by traders in the seaside town on a wet and miserable Monday.

Since the family announced it was selling the business in November, some people had resigned themselves to a Portrush without the big dipper and dodgem cars.

Barry's Amusements has been owned by the Trufelli family for the past 93 years.

While it remains up for sale as a going concern, on Good Friday, April 10, they will pull up the shutters for the 2020 season.

Among those who were delighted to hear the news yesterday was Ann Lamont who lives and works in the town.

She said: "I am glad Barry's is opening this year and I will be sorry to see it go if it is sold.

"People come off the train and that is their first port of call, along with the beach.

"Visitors come here for Barry's but they visit the other shops too while they are here so I will be sad to see it closed but I do understand the family wanting to sell.

"They have been in the business for such a long time and maybe they are fed up and just want a change, and you can't blame them for that."

Corrie Parker, the manager of Maud's Ice-cream parlour, and local resident Patricia Quigley were equally delighted - but have different views on the impact on the town if it disappears in the future .

Mr Parker said: "I really think that if you take Barry's out of Portrush there will be no Portrush.

"We rely on people coming here from Barry's. It is a short season for us and it would make a massive difference to us if Barry's wasn't there.

"The vibe within the town is that it will be missed. It has been a topic of conversation every single day since it was announced it was going up for sale. People can't imagine Portrush with it."

Ms Quigley has worked in Portrush for almost 40 years. She too finds it hard to picture the place without Barry's, but thinks life will go on. She said: "Barry's is such a feature of Portrush and it is difficult to imagine it not being there but I think tourism overall has increased in Portrush because of the golf with the Open being here last year.

"I think people do come here because of Barry's, but they come for other reasons now too - the cafes, the restaurants, the beaches and of course all the sights there are around Portrush.

"I am delighted it is opening this year and I would love to think that it will be still be part of the fabric of Portrush in 20 years' time. But if that isn't the case, there is a bigger picture and that is with or without Barry's Portrush will still be here."

A statement from the owners said: "The Trufelli family wishes to announce that Barry's Amusements will open for business as usual across the 2020 season.

"The business remains for sale as a going concern and, while there has been strong interest, this process takes time.

"We would like to thank our employees and our customers for their continued patience and messages of goodwill over recent months.

"We look forward to welcoming you all to Barry's this forthcoming season."

Earlier this month Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council's planning committee voted not to issue a building preservation notice leading to fears the 1920s complex could be knocked down to make way for apartments.

Several potential suitors have been reported. Coleraine actor Jimmy Nesbitt - who had a job as a teenager manning the Big Dipper roller-coaster and calling the bingo - revealed he had considered taking it over but did not elaborate as to if he actually tabled a proposal.

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