Fota House Art & Collections

Fota House is home to exquisite collections of art and artefacts which offer intriguing insights into the lives and tastes of the 19th-century aristocracy.

Within Fota House you’ll find some of Ireland’s finest art and heritage objects in their authentic settings. Outside, our arboretum and gardens feature a unique collection of trees and plants, many planted hundreds of years ago.

Enjoy the collections on your visit and hear the stories about life upstairs and downstairs in this elegant Irish mansion. Fota House has full museum accreditation from the Heritage Council in recognition of its high standards of conservation and interpretation. Learn more about the work of caring for and sharing our collections on our tours and through our behind-the-scenes events.

The Fota House Art Collection

The Fota House Art Collection is one of the finest collections of landscape painting outside the National Gallery of Ireland. It includes works by William Ashford PRHA, Robert Carver, Jonathan Fisher, and Thomas Roberts.

Together, these paintings represent some of the finest examples of 19th-century art in Ireland. They reflect style and technique trends and contribute to understanding the Fota House residents, and their social and political contexts.

McCarthy Collection at Fota House
Art Collection at Fota House

See 19th-Century Art in Its Original Setting

Enjoy viewing our wonderful painting collection as you explore the elegant rooms of Fota House on a guided tour. These can be our Fota House Tour, in-depth Fota Art Tour, study visit or school tour. Our passionate guides will share insights into the paintings, the artists, and the residents who commissioned these impressive works.

If Walls Could Talk!

The Fota House collection of hand-painted wallpapers is the focus of a permanent exhibition which reveals fascinating insights into the history of home furnishing.

Conservation and Recreation

The Irish Heritage Trust relies on expert craftsmanship and insights to conserve and maintain collections that include artworks, wallpapers, plant collections, toys, kitchen implements, and garden tools.

As far as possible, we repair and showcase original items from within Fota House. We select additional historically accurate pieces to help re-create scenes that would have been familiar to the original owners.

We also work to return items that were lost from Fota House to their original home. The Irish Heritage Trust is a non-profit organisation, so this work is funded through ticket sales, memberships and donations.

Restoring Fota to Its Former Glory

Thanks to a generous donation by the McCarthy family in 2008, we are able to display seven paintings which had been sold and removed from Fota House as its fortunes faltered in the 20th century. When Tom McCarthy of McCarthy Developments acquired the paintings, he generously returned them to Fota House to ‘help the Irish Heritage Trust deliver a great experience for visitors to this wonderful historic property’.

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