‘Sad day’ for NI tourism if Barry’s Amusements in Portrush makes way for apartments

The potential closure of Barry’s in Portrush would be a “massive, massive loss” to the tourism industry on the North Coast, a local MLA has warned.

Monday, 10th May 2021, 5:26 pm
PACEMAKER BELFAST 07/05/2021 The owners of Barry's Amusements have said the Portrush attraction will not reopen until the ongoing sales process has concluded, with the site now being on the market as 'a development opportunity.' A feasibility study by Savills site could be developed for several uses, including a 120-bed hotel, 23 residential dwellings or a combination of both, in addition to leisure and recreational facilities. The 2.23 acre site has been been placed on the market with a guide price of £2.75 million. The Trufelli family announced in October 2019 that Barry's was to be put up for sale after 93 years. The famous attraction was to stay open during the sales process. However, the start of Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 meant the business never opened for the year's season.

The Trufelli family, which owns the much-loved seaside amusement venue, announced in November 2019 that it was for sale, but have now said it is to be remarketed as both a going concern and as a potential development site.

Former mayor of Coleraine, DUP MLA Maurice Bradley, said that if it closes it would be a “very sad day” following the closure of the nearby Dunluce Centre and Waterworld – two other popular Portrush tourist attractions.

The East Londonderry MLA said it is likely prospective buyers would want to build apartments on the site.

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“To lose Barry’s would be a massive, massive loss to the North Coast and to the Causeway Coast and Glens area,” he said.

“It has massive tourist potential. It attracts people from all over the country so to see it close would be a very sad day for the economy and for tourism to this area.

“However, we have to bear in mind that it is a commercial situation and that the people who own it are of a mind to pass it on.

“The only hope that we can have is that another operator of a similar nature was to come in and buy it as a going concern and keep it open.”

He added: “There’s a lot of nostalgia attached to Barry’s. It is an institution. I’m like anyone else in Northern Ireland in that I’ve got a lot of fond memories of visiting Barry’s and having a very enjoyable time.

“We have lost Waterworld, we have lost the Dunluce Centre, and we have the potential of losing Barry’s now – all three attractions on the North Coast, in what we here in this area would call the jewel in the crown of tourism in Northern Ireland.

“The problem that we have in the Causeway Coast and Glens is trying to attract the right type of investment to replace those attractions that we have lost, or could lose.

“People want to build apartments here, as opposed to promoting tourism, and that’s something the council has to fight against.”

Causeway Coast and Glens councillor William McCandless said: “It would be wonderful if someone could come in and save it as it currently exists, but we have to face facts. A suitable buyer for that may not be out there.

“I would be very sad to see it sold for apartments.”

David Boyd, the president of Causeway Chamber of Commerce, said: “Barry’s Amusements have been at the heart of Portrush for the past 95 years and we thank the Truffeli family for the wonderful memories and generosity over the years.”