Barry's Amusements in Portrush to be sold as going concern

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Image caption,
Barry's Amusements has been a fixture of the north coast for 93 years

Barry's Amusements in Portrush is to be sold as a going concern, its owners have announced.

The amusements park opened on the north coast in 1926.

The Trufelli family said the 11 full-time staff had been informed and would be kept in employment throughout the sale process.

"As family operators, we feel we can no longer give the considerable commitment required to effectively manage the business," they said.

Business advisory firm Grant Thornton has been appointed to find a buyer.

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Image caption,
The Trufelli family said they want to "pass on the baton to someone who will ensure generations can still enjoy the fun"

"This is not a decision the family has taken lightly, especially given our 93-year trading history and follows significant and emotional consideration over a prolonged period," the Trufelli family said.

"We understand the special place that Barry's holds in the hearts of many Northern Ireland families, but none closer than our own.

"We hope to pass on the baton to someone who will ensure generations can still enjoy the fun that Barry's offers our local and wider community."

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From high-octane thrills to a gentle spin on the teacups

Sara Girvin, BBC News NI North East reporter

A trip to Barry's has been a rite of passage for families visiting Northern Ireland's north coast for almost a century.

Entertaining children and adults alike, Barry's has offered everything from high-octane thrills to a gentle spin on the teacups, as well as welcome shelter from those all-too-frequent rainy Portrush days.

Only 11 people are employed at the site full-time, but in the busy summer season as many as 250 seasonal employees are taken on every year to keep the dodgems and Ferris wheel turning.

The Trufelli family, who opened Barry's in 1926 with just one carousel, is selling it as a going concern.

They hope the charm of the seaside amusement park will live on for future generations - and that Barry's will continue to help create fond family memories.

People in Portrush hope so too.

Barry's is believed to be Ireland's longest running amusement park, owned by the Trufelli family since it first opened.

The amusement park stayed open every summer throughout Northern Ireland's Troubles.

How Barry's began

Barry's first opened in Portrush in 1926, after members of two circus families - Evelyn Chipperfield and Francesco Trufelli - met in Ireland and later married.

Evelyn had been in Ireland performing with her four sisters, while Francesco, a former trapeze artist, was director of the touring Royal Italian Circus.

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The Big Dipper is Barry's most famous ride

Evelyn became the agent for the circus.

They continued to tour Ireland together before, in 1926, they were invited by the Railway Company to set up a permanent site in Portrush.

According to its website, the name Barry's was chosen because Chipperfield's was too long and Trufelli's too foreign, and the first delivery lorry at the site had the name Barr on it.

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