Funderland: 'horrendous year'

The popular Funderland theme park has become the latest victim of the big freeze in Ireland.

The funfair has seen visitor numbers plummet as the public decided to stay indoors because of recent deteriorating weather conditions.

Funderland finishes its annual stint in the RDS, Ballsbridge, today and marketing manager John McGee says wintry conditions resulted in a huge drop in visitors to the attraction in its final week.

"At the start of last week things were looking good. We were seeing a good amount of people coming in. However, as the week went on, the place became a lot emptier, to the point that it was dead by Friday.

"People seemed to be too frightened to make their way out to us with the road conditions posing a serious threat. On top of that, buses were stopped and many people didn't have any way out to the park," he said.

Despite a few ice-related problems with outdoor rides, the theme park remained open to the public for its usual opening hours last week.

According to McGee, this year has seen a general and overall drop in visitors which is also attributable to the recession. The park arranged a series of special offers to tackle the combined effects of snow and recession.

"We did have offers but visitor numbers were down in general. This was meant to be a bumper week for us but it didn't end that way."

John Turbett, who supplies equipment to funfairs around Ireland and runs, said weather and increased financial pressure will lead to a "horrendous year" for theme parks in Ireland.

"The weather and other money problems are having a huge impact on our business and will continue to do so. People won't want to come out in the freezing weather, and it has now become our biggest threat. We are trying to stay optimistic but the truth is that without the good weather we have no business," he said.