Fun Day Out
Hotels near Fota House & Gardens
Just 15 minutes drive from the Ambassador Hotel Cork City is Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens - an Irish Heritage Trust Property
Immerse yourself in the charms of this elegant Regency House: home to the Smith Barrys for centuriees. Fota House was redesigned in the 1820's by John "The Magnificent" Smith Barry as a splendid setting for his sumptuous entertainments.
Today you can hear Fota's legendary stories for yourself with guided tours led by a team of volunteers, whose passion for heritage is contagious! Our guides will show you the grand décor of the principle rooms and take you behind the scenes to the exquisite boudoir and charming Victorian nursery. A special feature is our service wing, where you can experience what life was like for the cooks, butlers, footmen and maids who supported the lavish lifestyle of the gentry.
In the 1840s, John's son - another James Hugh (1816 - 1856) continued to improve the grounds to make them more fashionable and to complement the newly extended house. He is responsible for much of the arrangement we see today, developing the arboretum, the terraces and the walled and kitchen garden. This work was enthusiastically continued y subsequent family members Arthur Hugh Smith Barry (1843 - 1925) and his daughter, Dorothy Bell, nee Smith Barry (1894 - 1975)
Following the death of Dorothy Bell, the house and lands were sold to University College Cork and were used as a centre for agricultural and botanicalstudies. Later, the Fota Trust took over the running of the hosue. Today, Fota House and the kitchen gardens are run under the guardianship of the Irish Heritage Trust and the Arboretum and Gardens come under the remit of the Office of Public Works (OPW).