By Niall Crozier
THE much-loved Funhouse in Newry’s Greenbank Industrial Estate has closed.
The popular indoor soft-play and party venue will be sorely missed, for in the 14 years during which it operated, The Funhouse certainly lived up to its name.
‘Fun’ was its raison d’être, a fact proven by its having hosted thousands of children intent on just enjoying playing. As well as that, it accommodated hundreds of birthday parties, as a result of which numerous Newry families have fond memories of times spent there.
A statement issued via Facebook on Thursday morning confirmed, “Due to the on-going Covid 19 pandemic and the uncertain times ahead, The Funhouse has taken the tough decision not to re-open our indoor soft play and party venue.”
It was a family-run business in which husband and wife, Brian and Rosemary Ennis, their four children and those whom they described as having been “our fantastic team past and present” worked to give others a good time in a safe, welcoming environment.
In their Facebook-realyed statement, the family and the entire Funhouse team also extended “a massive thank you to all of our loyal customers for their continued support over the past 14 years.”
Brian and Rosemary’s message to past-users was, “Our family and our team grew up with many of your families who have visited our centre over the years and we have made some unforgettable memories.”
Speaking to The Democrat, Brian added, “We’re a very private family and have been since we started, so we prefer to keep things that way. We have really enjoyed our run here, but it’s our decision, as a family, to move on with our lives.
“We did a wee bit of social media to announce it and the response we’ve had has been lovely. Like I say, it’s a family decision - there are no dramatics. Our kids have all grown up, so all we want to do now is just quietly move on with our lives.
Admitting that “Covid probably pushed us to take the decision a wee bit quicker than we might have done,” he added, “Because the Funhouse is a big-name business that has given us so much pleasure, it’s hard thing to walk away from in view of the reputation it had. It has been a beautiful journey for us.
“But Covid that has led us to take this decision. We really haven’t been trading for nearly a year, so as a family we looked it and agreed that we’d enjoyed the journey but it’s been nice to have had our weekends back. So it’s a family decision to step away at this stage.”
The facebook communiqué ended cryptically, with the parting words being, “All we can say is keep an eye out on this page for our next chapter. Take care and stay safe.”