Paying tribute to all involved in the conservation, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar was in good form as he unveiled a plaque to mark completion of a €2.5 million restoration to Fota House in East Cork earlier in the week.
Over the past 4 years Failte Ireland and the Irish Heritage Trust have put a lot of work and money into restoring Fota House and gardens back to its full glory, installing it as another magnificent attraction to Fota Island. The elegant house with its stately gardens and arboretum originally began as a hunting lodge belonging to the Smith Barry family. It was completely transformed into the elegant Regency style house it is today in 1820 upon the permanent relocation of John Smith Barry from Britain to Cork. Commissioning the talents Irish architects, Sir Richard Morrison and his son William Morrison, he had it designed into a splendid residence that would suit his position. The architects completely transformed the lodge adding two new wings, a handsome Doric portico and opening up the interior through the use of fine scagliola columns that led to a stone staircase. The overall look is classical. The interior decor reflecting continental trends of that time can be seen in the gilt, marble work, painted ceilings and magnificent plaster details. Continue reading