Belfast Telegraph

Celebs and public united in sadness and nostalgia over Barry's Amusements sale

Alan Simpson
Alan Simpson
Leesa Harker
Andrew Madden

By Andrew Madden

Northern Ireland celebrities shared their memories of fun times spent at Barry's Amusements down the years and sadness at the news it is for sale.

Broadcaster and entertainer Alan Simpson - who comes from the North Coast - said it was a "very, very sad day for Portrush".

He added: "Heartbreaking for so many ... the tears will flow into the sea but the memories will never be washed away."

Leesa Harker, famed for her comic creation 'Maggie Muff', said: "Now researching ways that I can buy Barry's in Portrush. Lottery will be getting done this weekend with the sole purpose to buy Barry's!"

The celebs were joined online by nostalgic local folk recalling cherished memories of childhood joy at the iconic seaside amusement arcade.

Mary Daly, who now lives in Southport, Lancashire, recalled trips to Barry's in the 1960s.

"My dad took me on the roller coaster, I think I was about 10 years of age," she said. "That was 54 years ago. Oh! The memories!"

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Wendy Smith, from Belfast, said: "That wee clown figure that rotates round the 'swing' above the cafe has been there since I went on a trip as a Brownie - about 50 years or so!

"I hope whoever buys the place honours the memories."

Larne woman Kelli Brownlow told of her favourite Barry's fun ride.

"The horses with my two children when they were small," she said.

"Dodgems when I was a teen and the smell of it even now as an adult brings back so many memories."

Meanwhile, a former worker at Barry's Amusements said it would be unimaginable for Portrush to be without Barry's.

Olivia Mullan recalled the "extremely fun atmosphere" working at Barry's in the 80s alongside a young James Nesbitt (top left) and said there will be "a few tears shed" over yesterday's announcement.

Olivia (56) worked at the amusement park from 1983 to 1986 when she was a university student and said the news was "absolutely heartbreaking". Her father was friends with Francesco Trufelli and she approached him for a job in the cafe.

"Thankfully he gave it to me, and I was able to get a few of my friends from university work there too. We were the 'cafe girls' and we had a couple of great summers there," she said.

"When you grew up as a kid in Portrush everyone wanted to work in Barry's."

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