Former Barrys fun park’s surprise opening draws crowds

All roads led to Portrush on Saturday afternoon as news spread that the new Curry’s Fun Park had opened its doors a week earlier than advertised.

Traffic queued for more than a mile outside the town limits with hundreds of people keen to be among the first to check out the greatly anticipated revamped attraction.

The reopening follows widespread disappointment when the previous business on the north coast seaside site, Barry’s Amusements, closed its doors for the final time last year.

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New owners the Curry family already operate a Curry’s Fun Park in Galway.

The fun park in Portrush was expected to open on Good Friday, however the owners decided to open at 5pm on Saturday after seeing crowds milling around the site.

A member of the Curry’s team said the owners made a snap decision to open for business.

“They just saw the crowds outside and said ‘we’re opening in 45 minutes,’” the spokesperson said.

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A spokesperson also said Saturday’s opening was a great success, adding: “It was very busy. The Curry family are very proud to have their name over such a very important site for so many families and will strive to help families keep making memories.”

News of the surprise opening was posted on the Curry’s Facebook page around 4.30pm on Saturday, sparking a wave of excitement.

The message said: “Delighted to announce that Curry’s Funpark Portrush is open today from 5pm. Open daily 12-10 throughout Easter.”

More than 800 messages were posted in response.

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One said: “Brilliant! Thank you to the Curry family for this investment – you are going give a lot of kids (and adults) fun in the Port this year. Was badly needed for the area!! Best wishes going forward. Needs all of us now to support it as much as possible.’

Another added: “Only finding this out now. Now I’m going to have to pack a case and drive down.”

Rodney Byrne, representing the RNLI, and great-grandson Jake officially opened the entertainment complex with owner Owen Curry and son Owen Jnr.

Curry’s has chosen Portrush RNLI as its charity of the year. Anyone with old Barry’s tokens can drop them in the collection box at the door and Curry’s will make a donation to the charity.

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The Curry’s family, who are based in the Eglinton area of Londonderry, signed a long term lease of the tourist attraction and always planned to open the complex at Easter.

Barry’s had been one of the most popular tourist attractions for generations. It was owned by the the Trufelli family since it opened in 1926 until it was sold last year.