Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Barry's isn't just another business, it's the picture postcard beating heart of Portrush and a harbinger of summer

Barry’s Amusements
Barry’s Amusements

Editor's Viewpoint

It is common, when some well established business goes up for sale, for it to be described as an institution. Barry's amusement park in Portrush can rightfully lay claim to that title.

For it is no ordinary business; it can accurately be described as the beating heart of the seaside resort.

The Co Antrim town owes a large part of its popularity to the very existence of Barry's for nearly a century. It has drawn visitors from all parts of the province and there cannot be a historic postcard of Portrush which does not feature the emblematic dodgems or fairground rides. It is no ordinary business.

Rather like the swallow it is a harbinger of summer. When the big dipper or the cyclone or any of the other rides began to hum it was a sure sign that another holiday season had begun and the town could look forward to another money-making season, with full guest houses and places of entertainment doing a roaring trade.

One will never know how many romances or indeed lifelong relationships began within the confines of the amusement park.

It was the one meeting place that was impossible to miss.

But nothing is eternal and now the family owners of the business have put it on the market.

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There is always a fear on such occasions that some developer will see its prime location as the perfect place for new and expensive properties and it is reassuring that already there have been some expressions of interest in purchasing the park as a going concern. One local businessman already in the leisure industry who could be a potential bidder summed up Barry's importance, describing it as an institution in the leisure business world.

It is hard to believe that Barry's, the abiding memory of summer holidays for generations of people in Northern Ireland, will not be bought by someone who believes in its future as an amusement park and who would be prepared to invest even further in upgrading facilities for a more demanding generation of holidaymaker.

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