Wednesday, 21 September 2011

UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS at FOTA HOUSE


FOTA HOUSE































Fota House, originally a modest hunting lodge, was the home of the Smith-Barry family. In the 1820s, John Smith-Barry decided to make it the main residence and leading architects were employed. A Regency style design was picked and, in 1872, a billiards room and conservatory  were added and the house has remained more or less unchanged to the present day. 
I called there yesterday and paid my six euro for a fascinating guided tour, first through the living quarters and then through the servants area. Upstairs, downstairs! You had to know your place here. Guests were alerted by doors hung with green baize that they were entering the forbidden servants’ area. The servants, working down in the kithens, were unable to see the goings on in the gardens as their view was blocked by a well placed hedge. 

The place is very impressive: the entrance hall with its columns, the plasterwork, the outstanding dining room, the well equipped kitchen area and the game carousel in the larder area. And I haven't even mentioned the art collection.

You may read about it all here (house, gardens and arboretum) on the excellent website http://www.fotahouse.com


After the tour, we headed for the walled gardens, so well laid out and cared for. A great place for photographers and I met a group there from the City busily snapping, delighted with the colours and shapes, the borders, the rose garden and the Italian garden, among other attractions. I also took time to call to the nearby orangery and here are a few trees with some fruit, as you can see in the collage. 
Then we took the longer walk around the arboretum. Again so many shapes, sizes and colours (mainly of the autumnal variety as reds and yellows dominate, especially down by the water).

Total time for the visit was a little over two hours, an hour inside and one outside. In addition to the six euro admittance charge (the gardens and arboretum are free), a parking charge of three euro per car applies. Well worth it!

If you have any queries on the photos, just let me know or maybe have a search on the Fota site. http://www.fotahouse.com

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