Fota House, Arboretum and Gardens

Contact Information

The island estate of Fota is famous for its magnificent Regency period house, beautiful formal gardens and world renowned arboretum. The island also encompasses a wildlife park, 5-star holiday resort with spa and golf club. It is located 12km east of Cork City on the northern shore of Cork Harbour, adjacent to Great Island and Cobh. Fota House was built by the Smith Barry family and was transformed and extended by the famous Morrison architects in the 1820’s. The classical style of the house reflects exquisite Regency features and will transport the vistor back to an era of elegance and taste with scagliola columns, painted ceilings and plasterwork. Fota House has a magnificent collection of 18th and 19th Century Irish paintings and furniture and one of the most interesting elements is the Service Wing, a suite of rooms that has changed little since the 1820s and boasts an unusual and rare game larder. The name Fota was derived from the Gaelic ‘Fod te’ meaning warm soil and because of this, a selection of rare and exotic trees and shrubs thrive in the Arboretum. It is here that you can explore a collection of specimens that were gathered by intrepid plant hunters in the 19th Century from the Orient, Asia and the Americas. The story of Fota is told by local tour guides who inject an authentic feel to Fota’s stories and history. Visitors can also enjoy top class food in the café and browse in the gift shop. Fota House is run by a charitable organisation called the Irish Heritage Trust. The gardens and arboretum are cared for and managed by the OPW.