Fota House & Gardens

5 days 4 hours ago

#OnThisDay…November 20th, 1940, (80 years ago), The Tatler and Bystander Magazine published photographs of the opening meeting of the United Hunt at Watergrasshill, Co. Cork. Among those attending was a young Rosemary Bell, the youngest of Major and Dorothy Bell’s daughters. Although born in the UK in 1924, Rosemary spent much of her formative years at Fota House. During the WW2, Rosie trained in nursing (as her mother Dorothy had in WW1) and worked for a time at St Mary’s Hospital in Roehampton. Like her parents and sisters, she loved horse riding and hunting. In 1948 she married Captain Anthony Villiers at Rushbrook Church and for a time they lived near Midleton where he was in charge of the kennels.
In the late 1950’s, the Villiers moved to Cirencester, where Tony got a job in the kennels on Lord Bathurst’s estate and they lived at “The Barton”, a house on the grounds. In 1963 they settled in a house called The Old Priory. Living with them was Miss Patty Butler, from Belvelly, who had been working at Fota House. By now they had three children, Valentine, Henrietta, Charles and their fourth child, Emma, was born that year. Charles died at a young age of 26 in the early 1980’s. Patty recounts their busy and sociable lives in Cirencester, where parties were held with Rosemary on piano and Tony on drums. Two of their friends played the guitar and clarinet. Patty tells us that one morning she came downstairs to find the piano missing and thought there had been a break-in, only to find that the night before Rosemary and her husband had loaded it into a horsebox and brought it to a friend’s house for a party there. According to a eulogy read by a close friend at Rosie’s funeral, she and Tony loved Jazz and early rock’n’roll – Bill Hayley and the Comets being among her favourites. They were married for 56 years until Tony’s death in 2004.
In 1975, when Dorothy Bell died, Rosemary inherited the Fota Estate. She sold it to UCC, who bought the entire 780 acres for £400,000. Their main interest was the farm and the land, which they intended to use for their Dairy Science Faculty. In February 2011, Rosemary Bell Villiers died at the age of 87.
Images: 1. Rosemary Bell (left) at the Watergrasshill Hunt in 1940 (with Miss Pamela Wyndham-Quin and Mr F.W. Maxwell). 2. Rosemary Bell’s wedding in1948. 3. Rosemary with her children visiting Fota c. 1960 (l to r. Charles, Dorothy Bell, Valentine, Major Bell, Rosemary, Hetty and Peggy Butler)
This #FotaHistoryNuggets series is researched and written thanks to volunteer Catherine Coakley. Our volunteers make extraordinary and valued contributions to Fota House & Gardens that help to keep celebrating the history of this wonderful place and bring it to life!
#TourismTogether #PureCorkWelcomes #PeoplePlacesParticipation #SharingSpecialPlaces #IrishHistory

Fota House & Gardens

6 days 5 hours ago

A gentleman’s study was a place where he could conduct his business in peace, as well as enjoy the comforts that surrounded him….

Fota House & Gardens

1 week 5 days ago

We may not be open to the public at the moment, but behind closed doors we are working hard and have some very exciting projects underway and we can’t wait to share them you. Here’s a glimpse of what’s been going on…… Discover Ireland Ireland's Ancient East Cork County Council Visit Cork

Fota House & Gardens

1 week 6 days ago

“What a dynamic, handsome object is a path!”― Gaston Bachelard

The wonderful Arboretum here at Fota - cared for by our friends in the OPW Discover Ireland Cork Beo Tourism Ireland Ireland's Ancient East

Fota House & Gardens

2 weeks 2 days ago

This is Jennifer, one of our Collection Care volunteers busy bringing this recently donated gentleman’s shaving stand back to life. It was a great feeling to see it in situ once it was finished and we all had a well-deserved cup of tea!!!

Our sincere thanks to the donor (who wishes to remain anonymous) for this wonderful piece of history, we think they’ll be happy with its new home!

Interested in volunteering at Fota? Visit our website for more information

Fota House & Gardens

2 weeks 4 days ago

Celebrate your civil ceremony in the beautiful historic surroundings of Fota House, talk to our dedicated and friendly wedding team and we will ensure your day is the very best!!! For queries contact:
(Photos courtesy of Laura and Benny Photography) Laura and Benny Photography One Fab Day

Fota House & Gardens

2 weeks 6 days ago

#OnThisDay…November 5th, 1861, (159 years ago) a group of fishermen from Blackrock, Cork, appeared in court at the Riverstown Sessions, charged with stealing oysters from the Fota oyster beds. In all, 22 defendants were charged. They in turn instituted counter-charges for assault, claiming that stones were thrown at them by the people in the Fota boats who pursued them all the way back to Blackrock. In fact, it was the Trustees of the Fota Estate who brought the case against the alleged thieves, as Arthur Smith Barry had not yet reached his majority.
There were many such incidents throughout the second half of the C19th, many of them ending up in court. Although there were also thriving oyster beds at Blackrock, it seems that it was always Blackrock fishermen who were involved in the forays into the Fota beds. On one occasion, in 1870, Arthur Hugh Smith Barry’s watchman shot a fisherman who was allegedly stealing oysters. Another high-profile court case took place in 1874.
The issue of ownership of these oysters was questioned in all these court cases. Apparently, there had always been oysters in this part of the estuary and how they came to belong to the Smith Barrys is not clear. Oysters had always been a native mollusc in Ireland but there is evidence of cultivation from the C13th. Improved transport in the C19th meant that oysters could be enjoyed inland and further afield, with beds become overexploited, leading to a reduction of supply and turning the mollusc into a luxury item. A witness called Pat Flynn, aged 78, in the court on this day, stated that he “had lived all his life at Foaty…John Smith Barry had been in possession of the oyster bank. The first I remember in possession was James Hugh Smith Barry, then John [The Magnificent] Smith Barry.” There is also evidence that Arthur Hugh Smith Barrys looked after the beds. In 1888 a fishing yawl, Sarah, arrived in Cork harbour with 17,000 oysters from the North Sea, for spawning in the Fota beds. The case dragged on into January 1862 with witnesses called to establish Smith Barry ownership. The jury acquitted three men but could not come to a decision on the others. A new trial was ordered. In the meantime, the Fota Trustees brought a petition to the Court of Chancery to establish ownership of the Fota oyster beds and sought injunctions against the accused, which were granted. When the case came before the court again in March, a deal had been done where the larceny charges would be dropped if the defendants pleaded guilty to trespass. They agreed and this particular case ended.
Images: Various advertisements for Fota Oysters in Cork newspapers.
This #FotaHistoryNuggets series is researched and written thanks to volunteer Catherine Coakley. Our volunteers make extraordinary and valued contributions to Fota House & Gardens that help to keep celebrating the history of this wonderful place and bring it to life!
#TourismTogether #PureCorkWelcomes #PeoplePlacesParticipation #SharingSpecialPlaces #IrishHistory

Fota House & Gardens

3 weeks 2 days ago

Entertaining was an important part
of Regency life, with the reputation and
status of the host on show: John Smith
Barry regularly hosted lavish dinner
parties in his elegant dining room.

Fota House & Gardens

3 weeks 4 days ago

HAPPY HALLOWEEN from all at Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens and a big THANK YOU to all who supported The Creepy Crawl, your donation helps keep Fota open for everyone to enjoy, and goes directly to the continued conservation and restoration of the property for future generations... Cobh Tourism Mykidstime Pure Cork Cobh Edition Cobh News

Fota House & Gardens

4 weeks 4 hours ago

There's lots of spooky goings on around Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens this week ....good to see that everybody's staying safe while having fun.... The Creepy Crawl at Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens - Saturday 24th October to Sunday 1st November, 11am to 3pm Daily.
This is an outdoor self-guided family trail suitable for children 8 years and under and will follow a one way system through Fota Arboretum & Gardens.
Tickets need to be booked in advance at as no tickets will be available to purchase on the day - €5.00 donation per child to Fota House Remember to be mindful of the Covid-19 5km Travel Restriction before booking.... Cobh News Mykidstime

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