It has been an eventful summer on Fota Island with so much happening including the introduction of The Asian Sanctuary at the Wildlife Park and, of course, the hosting of the Irish Open at the neighbouring Fota Island Cork Golf Club. However, one of the more significant events which was slightly overlooked was the birth of a red panda cub almost 3 months ago. The cute little redhead has being spotted on numerous occasions around the park with its mother Bonnie since the birth and has become a firm favourite with visitors to the Wildlife Park, Fota House and the 5 star Cork hotel and golf resort.
The East Cork Early Music Festival which is a small music festival, ran from Thursday 10th – Sunday 13th October and as usual it was a wonderful success. The small music festival with a difference prides itself on bringing period instrumental music from a bygone era back to popularity. To do this they go through live performances utilising many of Cork and East Corks best known historical settings. Music from the Medieval, Renaissance and the Baroque periods was enjoyed by patrons. Fota and East Cork received a boost in visitors thanks to the festival with many of the Cork hotels and restaurants enjoying an increase in trade.
The first festival was in 2003 the festival has had many memorable performances in some of the stunning and well known venues including St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Fota House and Cloyne Cathedral, as well as the recently completed Curtis Auditorium in the Cork School of Music. Over the years the likes of Emma Kirkby, The Palladian Ensemble, Barthold and Wieland Kuijken, Quintessential, James Bowman, The London Handel Players, Rachel Brown, Irish Baroque Orchestra and Bob van Asperen. Continue reading
Last Thursday night 10th January in the scenic and atmospheric grounds of Fota House, Arboretum and Gardens lovers of good music in East Cork were in for a treat with a night of chorale and classical music at the scenic grounds.
Beginning at 8pm, and with a complementary glass of wine at the interval, visitors to the concert were treated to a performance from Tufts University Chorale who had come all the way from America. The crowd who gathered to see the show were entertained by the group from Boston who performed several movements from the Bluegrass Mass by Carol Barnette.
Along with the performances of the Tufts University Chorale, there was also a show from the local Carrigaline Choral Group who were there to support the Boston based visitors, with a performance of “Voci Nuove” directed by Colm O’Regan and Dan Twomey, the Tenor Soloist last seen on RTE’s “The Voice.” With top class music and voices being heard and in beautiful timely settings of Fota House, the event was a welcome night out for people to the area.
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