Tuesday 23 July 2019

Last play at Playbarn Adventure Centre

The Playbarn Adventure Centre in New Ross is closing
The Playbarn Adventure Centre in New Ross is closing

The Playbarn in New Ross is to close in a fortnight's time due to a sky high hike in their insurance bill and a weather-hit 2018.

The Ross Adventure Playbarn was opened in March 2004 by Roz Walshe, providing a great space for children to play, as well as being a popular venue for birthday parties. Roz said the business is very solid and has great potential, but the arrival of an extraordinarily expensive insurance premium for the year just before New Year's meant she can longer keep the Playbarn going.

'It's the insurance. Last year it went up 70 per cent and this year it's gone up 100 per cent. Our insurance brokers tried 15 different insurance companies but to no avail. After it went up 70 per cent in 2017 we thought it would stay the same. It wouldn't pay me to stay open.'

The Playbarn recorded one of its worst years in 2018 due to the extreme weather. 'Last year was challenging. We had the snow which hit two weekends and we had storms and then we had four months of no rain. Apart from that business over recent years has been good and it is a good business. Anyone who comes in to take it over wouldn't have the loans we had.'

Apart from a dip in business during the recession, the Playbarn - which is run by Roz and her daughter and staff - has thrived in New Ross.

Roz said many customers were shocked to hear she was closing the doors of the 5,000sq ft building in the Bosheen beside the Apex pool and gym.

'I get a lot of repeat business and we had our Hallowe'en and Christmas shows. We have had coach loads of children coming in to us and I used to do story time in the mornings. They were great.

'One time there was a girl there who wasn't verbal and the next thing she sang into the mic. Her mum was dumbfounded and video'd it to take to her doctors.'

Roz said someone with fresh ideas could make a great go of the business.

'A climbing wall and some IT knowledge would go a long way. I am willing to sell the equipment. Anyone interested in taking on the business can come and see me here until January 27,' Roz said.

She said she will miss her loyal customers and the children who know her from the Playbarn.

'I met a lot of people and made a lot of friends. When I walk through the town kids come up to me and say "that's the lady from the Playbarn".'

New Ross Standard