Fota’s internationally recognised arboretum and gardens are open all year round and are a haven for relaxation and enjoyment. “Fota” is derived from the Irish “Fód te” meaning warm soil – perfect for the growing and cultivation of rare trees and exotic plants.

The delightful and tranquil gardens at Fota were laid out by James Hugh Smith-Barry in the first half of the 19th century and are a must see when visiting Fota including the palm walk, orangery, and atmospheric Victorian fernery.  The arboretum has a world-renowned collection of rare tender and exotic trees and shrubs from the southern hemisphere. These were discovered and brought back by the intrepid plant hunters of the 18th and 19th centuries. The development of the arboretum coincided with the great plant hunting expeditions around the world bringing back wonderful specimens from places such as the Orient, South America and the Pacific coast of northwest America. Not only do they play a major role in educating and informing visitors and specialists, this is a stunning recreation area for families to enjoy the beauty and richness of one of the finest collections of rare and tender trees and shrubs grown outdoors in Ireland and Britain. Educational events in the gardens are available for children and families, for more information, click here.

The formal gardens and arboretum at Fota are cared for by our friends in the Office of Public Works.