Thursday 17 October 2019

Playbarn is set to reopen under new management

New Playbarn owner Mark Kilbride
New Playbarn owner Mark Kilbride

David Looby

The Playbarn is reopening in New Ross within the next fortnight, creating ten jobs in the town.

The children's activity centre closed in January after 15 years and is reopening under new management shortly.

Owner Mark Kilbride said he is upgrading The Playbarn, making it brighter, while offering a new cafe experience.

He owns four other children's activity centres in Ireland and is planning to expand and upgrade the play equipment for children at the New Ross Playbarn over the course of this year.

The centre's previous owner Roz Walshe closed the business in January due to spiralling insurance costs, but Mr Kilbride said he was attracted to the proposition and is even interested in opening a second activity centre for older children and teenagers in the area.

The Longford man said he decided to keep with the same equipment knowing how popular it was with children aged one to nine in the locality.

'I said if I took it out the town would be losing out. The biggest thing was to get in a good manager and I've gotten in someone who has really hit the ground running.'

Speaking from the Playbarn last week, Mr Kilbride said he is getting in a new carpet, a kitchen area featuring new coffee machine and the place is being painted in bright colours.

He thanked Fianna Fáil Cllr Michael Sheehan for his help in getting the centre's doors open again.

'I am not just stopping here. I don't invest in a business lightly. I have invested a lot of money in here and I'll be doing more in the future. I want to get the place open and I have other ideas for different things around here as I think there is great potential in New Ross.'

The cafe will serve everything from popular children's food to healthy options and people will be able to use the cafe without having a child playing in the soft play and activity area.

Mr Kilbride said children's safety is an absolute priority, adding that cleanliness of the equipment is of paramount importance to him and his staff.

With plans to bring in new equipment from the UK and from his other adventure centres over the coming months, Mr Kilbride says Playbarn customers can look forward to a new look facility for their children to enjoy.

'As time goes by we will bring in newer stuff. Customers will be seeing a change when they come in.'

The Playbarn will be open from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m. Wednesdays till Sundays. A special €5 rate will apply (including coffee for parents) on Friday mornings and there are sensory evenings planned for children also.

The general cost of admission will be €7, while party packages will be available for €12 or €14. 'Parental supervision is required at all times,' he added.

New Ross Standard