“And I’ve been riding on a ghost train, where the cars, they scream and slam and I don’t know where I’ll be tonight but I’d always tell you where I am” – Mark Knopfler.
On my August 2023 return to Northern Ireland, I ticked off some of my childhood memories, 40 years later, to reminisce on the good times. I’ve done quite a lot of backpacking and sightseeing in Northern Ireland on my trips back, and haven’t written enough about it. On recent trips back, I’ve been to Warrenpoint, Dungannon, Milford, Derry, Ballintoy, Strangford, Portaferry and Rathlin Island (my first visit there was in 2022!). On this fire of my cannon, it was time for the Port Hat-trick, and that means Portballintrae, Portrush and Portstewart. To do this hat-trick strategically, start east and drive west. We started off by catching crabs at Portballintrae and finished the hat-trick by eating ice cream in Morelli’s, Portstewart. In the middle of all that, as the centre of the sandwich, of course we headed to Portrush, for BARRY’s!!!
What is Barry’s?
Barry’s is a Northern Irish institution. Everybody knows it. It’s legendary. Northern Irish people buzz off this kind of nationalistic stuff that actually brings us together rather than divides us. This is a fun place. Leave your politics and petrol bombs outside. We have more of these mental togetherness entities, too. Tayto is one. George Best is another. May McFetteridge is an arguable one. Soda bread for sure is one. When Northern Ireland finally gets our independence from the Republic of Ireland and the Untied Kingdom, I’ll go back to my homeland and use all these legendary nationalistic entities to amalgamate us as one. Barry’s is part of our history, a legacy lives on despite the death of Kristina Trufelli, the previous owner.
“United we stand; divided we fall” – Known Anonymous Statement.
Yes, but what is Barry’s?? What it is is it’s an amusements arcade, or a theme park or an entertainment complex. Everyone in the history of growing up in Northern Ireland has been there. And I mean everyone. Everyone has been to Barry’s. It’s the law.
The History in Short – Barry’s to Curry’s
Re-opened as Curry’s: April 2022
In 2019 when the place shut forever and saddened the nation. Not to be downheartened, somebody got the money together to save it. Barry’s was saved. The only snag was that it was renamed. So Barry’s is now Curry’s. It’s still works for me. This place oozes class. This time, to see the joy on the face of my nephew George was the highlight. George on arrival was very enthusiastic about riding on the Ghost Train. It’s on the right as you enter Barry’s. It was on the right in the 1980s. And it’s on the right now. It hasn’t changed in 40 years. Don’t pay in cash though…
We are token loyal here. You swap your Northern Irish pounds for tokens and use the tokens on the rides. It makes things smoother and faster. We’re not credit card loyal here. Old school. Cash and tokens. Got to love it!
I rode this ghost train in the 1980s, and in the 1990s. I was surprised that it was in the same place. The price was 2 tokens, which is £2, decent price in 2023. George was well up for it and ready to be scared!! He was loving it. There was a skeleton that popped up, a skull, a zombie, some odd noises, some darkness and as George noted “a scary Frankenstein popped out of a wardrobe at us!”. This is class, and it hasn’t changed in 40 years. Because it doesn’t need to.
“Don’t ever change” – Ian Brodie.
There are two types of dodgems here. Solo one for kids and the bigger ones for one adult one child (generally). They are 3 tokens each. My Dad went on the dodgems with George and then George did the solo one.
Two P Machines
My Mum loves these and even though she always wins and would beat them everytime, my Mum always just uses the two ps up at the end anyway. On this trip, she shared them with us all. Endless hours of entertainment for Mum, and for all of us.
There are loads of other things to do at Barry’s – betting machines, hoopla, jumping horses, rollercoasters, waterslides etc. It’s a brilliant place of entertainment for all and gave us a togetherness in Northern Ireland during the troubles. The legend lives on and I love it!
Here are the details on Barry’s (Curry’s):
Here are some videos I made during the return to Portrush: