The Early History of the Barry Family

Beautiful Manorbier Castle. You can visit! http://manorbiercastle.co.uk/

Beautiful Manorbier Castle. You can visit! http://manorbiercastle.co.uk/

The Norman family of de Barri took part in the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and as a result were granted territories in South Wales (from here they take their name). Their family seat was Manorbier Castle near Tenby. William de Barri was born here in 1110. He married Anagreth who was granddaughter of Rese Gruffydth, Prince of South Wales. Anagreth’s grandmother was Nest, who was mistress of King Henry I of England. Nest’s children founded the Fitzstephen, Fitzgerald and Fitzhenry families.

William and Anagreth had four sons: Philip, Edmund, Robert and Gerald. Gerald later wrote very fondly of his birthplace, Manorbier Castle, which he called ‘the pleasantest spot in Wales’ …

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The Barrys Come to Ireland

Mavricivs FitzGerald from the National Library of Ireland's copy of Giraldus Cambrensis Expugnatio Hibernica., Ms 700 f.71r, Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland. Maurice was Philip de Barri's uncle

Mavricivs FitzGerald from the National Library of Ireland’s copy of Giraldus Cambrensis Expugnatio Hibernica., Ms 700 f.71r, Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland.

Anagreth de Barri was related to many of the men who set out to conquer Ireland in 1169, among them were Robert Fitzstephen and Maurice Fitzgerald (pictured above), the progenitor of both the earls of Desmond and the earls of Kildare …

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The Last Letter

The Irish Heritage Trust which manages Fota House in Cork is proud to be the gatekeeper of many stories.  We know this one is all too common and many families safeguarded those last letters from the front as precious Continue reading

Sempervivum arachnoideum – Catherine’s choice

Sempervivum arachnoideum – Catherine’s choice

Unassuming, low-growing and evergreen but I can only describe this plant as enchanting. Cocooned in its spiders’ webs, it looks like a magic carpet of ancient, neglected rosettes. The plant that time forgot in Ms Havisham’s glasshouse. Now it has produced a delicate pink flower, bringing a dash of colour that seems to say “Don’t be fooled, I’m still growing” and living up to its name which means “always alive”.

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Loving the Wildlife

Loving the Wildlife

Fota isn’t just about the flora and fauna, though these are spectacular throughout the seasons. It’s also about nature, birds, bees, butterflies and some elusive animals. Here are some of the creatures we happily share Fota with. 

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An intriguing visitor to the Frameyard

An intriguing visitor to the Frameyard

Not all our visitors arrive on foot. On Monday last, just as we were finishing up for the day, an unusual visitor arrived. Our volunteers, Mary and Harriet and Bernard the gardener, watched in amazement as it darted about and hovered, its wings flapping rapidly. Then it latched onto a Dianthus plant and fed on the pollen. We were puzzled, having never seen anything like it before. Was it a bird, a butterfly, a bee or a moth?  In fact, it was a Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum (Linnaeus, 1758)

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Flower tower – Echium pininana

Flower tower – Echium pininana

Cork is known as a city of “Steps and Steeples”. Some were designed by famous architects like William Burgess and George Pain. Nearby at Cobh Cathedral, the work of Edward Pugin and George Ashlin towers over the sea.  Summer brings a different kind of steeple to the Frameyard and gardens of Fota House, this time designed by Nature. It’s called Echium pininana or Giant Viper’s Bugloss. This beautifully structured plant even has its own bell-like flowers. They don’t ring out like carillon bells but on a sunny day they sing with the sound of bees.

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The Fota House Game Larder

In the 21st century we don’t think twice about purchasing strawberries for Christmas in shops or supermarkets. Seasons are largely unimportant in today’s globalised world, and when we want to preserve food we can easily chill or freeze it. Continue reading
A Small Blue Goddess

A Small Blue Goddess

In the Frameyard now we see a beautiful tiny flower, with an equally beautiful name. Diana, Greek goddess of the hunt + ella meaning small + native to Tasmania, gives us Dianella tasmanica or Blue Flax Lily.

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