This much-loved Amusement Park
has become something of a holiday institution in its
eighty odd years of existence. For many people Portrush
and Barry’s are almost synonymous.
We’d love to hear your memories and recollections
of visiting Barry’s. Maybe you remember being
taken there as a child only to return with your own
children or grandchildren in more recent times. Perhaps
a special romance began in Barry’s? Or did you
have a summer job there or spend a summer swooning over
the Barry’s Boys.
Every visitor has their personal favourite ride whether
the Big Dipper, the dodgems or the ghost train? But
do you remember some of the older attractions long since
gone like the Peter Pan railway, the Wall of Death or
To help push start your memories click on the images
below to see some old Portrush black and white footage
These days only the Portrush Barry’s remains
at the site it’s occupied since the mid-twenties
beside the Railway station. But in past decades other
branches of the family ran amusements at sites in Bangor
and Belfast. Perhaps you have memories of those amusements?
Use the form below to contact us with your Barry's
Chantelle Dunbar - February '08
I love it so I do!
Helen Horner (Connor) - Mar '07
I lived in Enniskillen but we always went to Portrush
for our annual holidays. We stayed in Mrs. Maguire's
B & B in Causeway street, this was during the mid-50's.
After my mum died in 1957 I spent a few more holidays
there with my father who always took the Boys' Brigade
there for their camp. I loved going to Barry's but the
thing that stood out most was the time I was on the
dodgem cars with some older girl, I bumped my tooth
on the steering wheel and had a big chip broken out
of it. While living in Omagh for a short time and before
the trains stopped going from there, I went on a Sunday
School trip to Portrush. I left Ireland in 1968 and
didn't manage to visit it until 1996 when my husband
(he's a Carrickfergus man) and I went to Portrush for
an overnight stay and visited Barry's again. We stayed
in a B & B in Causeway Street just for old times
sake. (We have lived in Qld. Australia since 1974.)
Claude Flannery - Mar '07
My father contracted a rare form of Krabbe disease from
an undercooked hotdog from Barry's in July of 1964 and
died later that year. Unfortunately I was orphaned and
this was back in the day before suing was so commonplace.
Could anyone give me some legal advice on how to pursue
this case, as it put quite the dampener on my teenage
Kim Curry - Mar '07
I love the cyclones and walking around with a massive
lump of candyfloss
Maureen - Feb '07
Barry's - just the name makes me stare wistfully into
space with sights sounds and smells racing through
my head. The Barry's boys with their faded green coats
and handsome faces (generally made even more handsome
simply because of where they worked!). The smell of
burnt sugar from the candyfloss machines. The constant
din of clicking and whirling machinery mixed with the
chink chink of coins going into and coming out of one
armed bandits. As a Portrush native I had the joy of
going to Barry's very often as a child in the 70s and
80s but I was never lucky enough to secure one of the
coveted summer jobs. Just going through the door seemed
to make your pulse quicken. Even if I had no money
it was great to just walk through the place and look
at what was going on and hear the screams of people
on the big dipper and the swish swish of the cyclone
(my personal favourite along with the dodgems). So
much else in Portrush has changed. The Northern Counties
has gone. Castle!
Erin went just this week. Barry's is a mainstay retaining all its old charm for
the very young but still managing to put a smile on even the most worldly wise
of teenagers. Long may it continue.
Michael White - Feb '07
My formative years were in Portrush where I grew up
between 1956 and 1961 and my father worked in the Northern
Bank on Main Street. Barry's was the mecca of the young
teenager first discovering girls, dodgems and fish and
chips.We would congregate around the juke box, play
the machines wirh pennies and see if the crane could
collect a toy or choc. bar. The greatest thrill was
visiting the Wall of Death with my new girl friend who
was so frightened that she clung on in what I liked
to interpret as a hug.
Then joy of joys, at the age of 16 I was given a part
time job for the summer holidays on the dodgem cars.
I must have sent Barry's nearly broke with the free
rides I gave to my friends!!
The Big Wheel was fascinating especially when it stopped
and we were at the top. The views over the Port and
the West Strand to Porstewart were something else.
Ah, halycon days!!
Agnes McGill - Jan '07
Back in the early eighties we used to go to portrush
every year for almost 7 years.We had great fun in the
amusements especially the ghost train in which we enjoyed.Since
becoming married and having a family and living in
scotland when we go back over for a visit we like to
call into Portrush amusements.I have told my children
of the great times I spent there as a child and they
also have a great time and enjoyed by all. Long may
it continue as I look forward to my grandchildren going
Alex Jackson - Nov '06
My memories of Barry's go back to the early 50s and
60s, we used to go up every easter for the dances in
the Arcadia, Dave Glover was playing then, the jive
was in and all the fantastic songs that he sang along
with oliver harcourt, I forget the female singer but
it was a terrific dance, we used to go into the Springhill
bar i think it was on Causeway Street, it didn't take
much to get us tipsy then. Barry's was a lot of fun
even for 19 year olds, what great memories, I could
write a book but I might get jail.
Elizabeth Ross - Sep '06
As a family, we used to spend all our holidays in Portrush.
We stayed in the West Bay View Hotel - which are now
apartments. The lady who ran it knew us very well. Barry's
of course was the highlight of the day after a long
day at the beach. We would be given some money to spend
and off we would go. My brother Charles always went
on the helter-skelter! It was difficult to choose which
ride you wanted to go on. I remember my Dad playing
the game where you had to run a penny in between the
black lines and it was supposed to push other pennies
over the edge - he LOVED that game. I also remember
the smell of the place - sort of burning smell.
Visiting there a few years back with my sisters Anne
and Honor brought back so many childhood memories. We
saw Barry's, went for a long walk along the beach, saw
the Arcadia and went in to the White House, the only
BIG shop that was there in our day. Every time I think
of Portrush it brings a smile to my face - we had so
many laughs there, so many great childhood memories.
Damien Keegan - Sep '06
Wow, bit surprised to see my ma on here (Maura Keegan
(Crawley) )!! Hi Mum!
For me, the Big Dipper was the big hoodoo...never managed
to work up enough courage as a nipper to get on it.
Loved the dodgems, the helter-skelter by the door and
the waltzer. My sister and I couldn't walk past the
place without begging and pleading to go in! My mother
is made of sterner stuff and when we did go, it was
a genuine treat. Maybe something kids today fail to
appreciate with our culture of instant gratification.
A summer job at Barrys carried high kudos with the
"burds", something I didn't get to experience
as I moved to Scotland when I was 12. However, I'm quite
sure my cousins would all testify to the efficacy of
the "Green Jacket" when it came to chatting
them up . Or indeed being chatted up themselves such
was its power!!
Living in Portrush meant you had access to some of
the most spectacular coastline in Europe and during
the summer, cycling was our thing. Portballintrae, Runkerry,
Portstewart. Thanks mum for making us realise Portrush
was more than just Barrys, The Golden Goose, Sportsland
Heather Quigley - Sep '06
Our sunday school every year went to portrush in the
60s & 70s. As teenagers the highlight of our year
was to go to Barry's and go on the old Big Dipper. A
far cry from todays theme parks!
Frank Lynch - Sep '06
We made day trips from Donegal to Portrush in the 1960's
and they are just unforgettable days. I remember the
lawns and the flower beds and the tiny tots' train and
swimming pool. I remember the Arcadia Ballroom and the
Clipper Carlton Showband singing "Who's that knocking
on my door? Old man trouble". I remember Barrys
Amusements and being on the Hobby Horses and the Beatles
were singing Eleanor Rigby and the Seekers singing Rockin
Rolling Riding. I remember feeling queasy on the Big
Dipper and sliding down the high slide until I nearly
had no seat in my pants. I remember going out into the
sea in a little boat called The Queen Elizabeth. I remember
going into the Ghost Train with my father and I bawled
my head off and he laughed the whole trip. Fish and
chips and a pint of milk and ice cream cones and American
Cream Soda. Portrush is the Pearl of the North Coast
and Barrys Amusements was a wonderland for children
and still is.
Barry Bynum (Texas) - Sep '06
E njoyed the 70s when our band Liberation Suite would
play outdoors near the water, and in the Arcadia and
then go round the streets of Portrush including looking
at the Barry's ...of course you can imagine the various
jokes from other band members about Barry.
I come back to NI as often as I can. Our son Jack was
Yvonne Morrison - Sep '06
I used to holiday every year in Portrush as a child
in the eighties, and going to barrys at night when it
was all lit up was just amazing. I loved every minute
of my holidays as a child and will never forget the
memories I have from such a lovely place. I moved to
England when I was eleven but still when I go back I
have to go to portrush to Barry's amusements, well lets
face it a holiday isn't a holiday with out going to
I also remember being in portrush on a girls brigade
weekend with sloan street GB, lisburn - the highlight
of the week ........ going to barrys'.
Harty Ervine - Sep '06
As a very young child my Father had the job of tiring
me out so I would go to sleep. He would take me down
to Barry's and the Noddy cars and put me on them and
pay for a couple of rides. Soon I would be drowsy and
carried back to the hotel and would be out like a light.
Jacqui Lockhart - Sep '06
I went to Portrush every year as a child, with my parents.
I remember Barrys well, riding in the vintage cars,
the ghost train etc. I remember the donkey rides on
the beach and building sandcastles. I have many wonderful
memories and I returned again after I married with my
2 children, and we still have a great time. Maybe they'll
bring their children there too.
Hugh Parke - Aug '06
My wife (Paddy Battershill) and I met at Barry's right
there by the big slide in the 60's while I worked summers
and weekends at the Northern Counties Hotel, Lismara
and Fawsetts. We ended up living in Portrush for a while
before moving to Boston MA in 73. We have been married
40 years just past. We still have great memories about
Portrush, the donkeys at the beach with Fern and Nigel.
The Londonderry Hotel, many's a night we closed that
place and got fish and chips from Roody and Pam on the
The last time we were at the Arcadia it was Roy Orbison
that was playing.
Christopher Peake - Aug '06
Mrs Delino was some lady. I remember seeing her sometime
in the 1970s chasing a wee lad, up Main Street in Bangor...
it's quite a steep hill which would be daunting to a
runner who trained on a regular basis. The lad had nicked
something when he thought Mrs Delino was not looking
and mad a dash for it. She was fast... she asked someone
to keep an eye on the place and ran after him.
If I remember rightly she caught him, gave him a slap
round the ears and recovered her property.
Judy Lynn Weaver - Aug '06
Found the comment regarding Thomas Chesney Gourley during
a Google search for "Chesney." I'm a descendant
of William Chesney (1839-1866) & Sarah nee Burnett
of Ballymena. For what it's worth, I found the marriage
record -- 18 Sep 1873 -- of Eliza (Chesney) to James
Gourley. Bride was d/o Robert Chesney, a weaver of Lininaharry,
Ahoghill. I believe she had a sister Jane b. 1850 who
married Thomas Murphy. I have no idea how Robert the
weaver's family connects to mine, but will keep it in
Vera(McLatchey) Hall (Seattle) -
Hi, I have many great memories of Portrush and Barry's
as I went there every year for holidays during the late
50s and early 60s. I went with Jean, Vera and Edna Bain
whose husband was Alan Woods. Also their parents. The
whole family rented an old converted railroad carriage
named Ben Macree. They took Hilary Bromley and I with
them We all lived in Lisburn, my friend Hilary also
had a Barrys boy friend his name was Jackie. I have
fond memories of those first summer holidays.
I had a boyfriend who worked in Barry's called Colm
Quinn. He ended up being a lifelong friend. He was still
working there a couple of years ago. He had worked for
years at the Merry Go Round. I married in 1964 and moved
to Seattle ,I used to take my daughter to Barry's each
summer we visited so she also got to know Colm. Took
my nephew there when he was young. I have an old newspaper
article about Colm and the Peter Pan Trains. I also
have photos of his brothers as they all worked there.
Those were the days! I still go back home a couple of
times a year to visit. I hope I can see this documentary.
There was also a BBC one of Lisburn which I would love
Jane Doe - Aug '06
I remember going to Barry's as a child in the 90's with
my family when we went down 2 stay at the caravan for
a week or so. It was great fun! I remember I loved the
Hobby Horses & the Ghost Train. I was there in July
of this year and it is so different now to how I remember
Harry Donnell - July '06
I remember as a young child in the early seventies,
Barrys had a dalek it was a fairly simple hollowed out
dalek, that rotated sporadicly and had flashing lights
and of course used the familiar catchphrases..exterminate
etc. I visited last year with some young friends and
it had gone. However it's still magical to the young
James O'Hagan - July '06
The funniest happening that i can remember about Barry's,
Happened in the mid-fifties when a group of people decided
to travel on the Ghost Trains, When two wags who were
travelling in the same Ghost Train got out and started
to slap the faces of every person going through the
short train route, Well it wasn't long before the Barry's
attendants soon discovered the empty train emerging
from within, And they shut the system down and kicked
the two culprits out onto the street.
Bill Gregg - July '06
For years my Granda had my sister and I in stitches
with stories about Buck Alec and his toothless lion.
I often wondered if there was such a beast and he was
making it all up. I guess I was wrong.
Bertie Thompson - July '06
My memories of Barry's Portrush go back to the mid 50's.
Buck Alex was in a cage with his Lion wrestling it,
he pushed his left arm into the Lions mouth, as he was
wrestling it then he started shouting "my arm my
arm". As he was pulling his arm out of its mouth
he put his other hand over to the Lions mouth caught
the sleeve of his shirt that was in the Lions mouth,
as he pulled his arm out of its mouth the shirt sleeve
ripped - there was no Blood on his arm - the reason
being the Old Lion had not a Tooth in its Mouth.
Maura Keegan-Crawley - July '06
I lived in Portrush for most of my childhood and returned
with my children who schooled there. I have lots of
memories of Barry's and the act of kindness one of the
owner when I arrived with seven children and they had
closed but when they saw me at the door the lovely man
I am not sure if it was Trefeli his surname is he signaled
for me to come in and opened the rides for us. He saved
my promise to the children you can imagine how excited
they were going to Barry's. Thanks for some fab memories.
Many a boyfriend we met in Barry's.
Richard (Bunty)- July '06
Well Barrys has very special memories for me as I spent
a lot of time there as a very young boy, spent time
was all I had as I had no money to spend, I walked all
the way from Bellemont where I lived with my Grandmother
who was my mother, she brought me up from the day I
was born, My brother Jimmy worked at Barrys in the summer
time mainly on the dodgems, he thought it was great
riding around holding on to the bar at the rear and
getting the money while the cars were flying around,
he used to jump from one car to another, great fun,
an odd time we got a free ride, I spent most of my time
in the monkey house at the rear left hand side, I watched
them for hours, then the hungry long walk home where
my mammy would have something cooking on the old black
range, just lovely memories, I left Bellemont in 1963
and i've just come home after 43 years away, and I missed
my home every single day.
Brian Allen - July '06
Two things stick in my mind vividly from Barry's in
You Knew you were on your holidays when you saw the
multi level lights hanging inside the entrance, its
great to see them still there today.
Also once you had run down the hill past the vintage
cars and got inside the smell hit you. In those days
the speedway cars were just inside the door and the
smell of electric motors and rubber from these and the
dodgems was the smell that even now I associate with
childhood happy holidays.
Barry's has changed but not beyond recognition and
still retains its charm for my children
Linda Sayers - July '06
"I've never seen the inside of the Ghost Train"...
but I've been on it at least 6 times! I've just never
had my eyes open! My memories of Barry's are with the
Brownies when I had a pink lipstick which I thought
was the knees of a bee. I looked like a young Dame Edna!
And when I was older, with my friends from Stranocum.
I remember one ride, with my friend Georgina, and I
wasn't sure whose tears were running down my cheek,
hers or mine, but when it stopped... we went straight
I also remember never having enough money for all the
rides, so selection was as long and drawn out process
of weighing up the cost of excitement against a candy
floss, which I think were sold by the door. And when
you were down to your last pound, and you didn't want
to end your fun, you resorted to the games for the most
impoverished.. the 2p shuffle trays and the 4 - 8p horse
betting. Does anyone else remember those little tin
race horses? And for that matter, try placing a bet
in William Hills for 2p nowadays! And of course, you
had to go on the Merry Go Round, cause, well everyone
should go on a Merry Go Round at least once in their
Gloria Martin - July '07
Hi there, sorry I have not many memories of Barry's
portrush, but what about Barry's in Bangor that I do
have fond memories of. With my school friends Vera Crawford,
Liz Strain and Cherol Mc Cowen oh what happy days, mitching
school and spending the day hid in Barry's till it was
save to walk outside after 15:30 hour and in the weekends
watching the teddy boys and girls jiving under the helter
skelter - oh what memories. Also Mrs Delino walking
around like an elegant Jailer with the large bunch of
keys, what a marvelous woman born 100 years before her
time. Had she been born in the 21century she no doubt
would have been considered a very clever lady, but to
the locals she was considered a bit funny and not the
full shilling just because she choose to use her great
intelligence to make money, and make money she did.
Plus for the enjoyment she provided she should have
been given a title to say the least. I mean they give
these dame hoods away to lesser people or not?