The Rare & Special Plant Fair at Fota House Sunday May 8th

The Rare & Special Plant Fair at Fota House Sunday May 8th

The Rare and Special Plant Fair, in association with Bord Bia, has taken place annually at various historic homes and gardens throughout Ireland, and this year, the historic Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens at Fota Island, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork, T45 Y642  will play host to this special event on Sunday 8thth May 2022. The one day event opens at 11am and runs until 5pm and will be conveniently located next to the Fota House Car Park. Entry to the event will be €5 per adult with kids under 18 free.

Up to 40 Specialist Nurseries from all over Ireland will be on site to offer and showcase beautiful, unusual and hard to find varieties of plants for sale, as well as giving expert advice on care and growing. The Fair will also host a small number of non-plant but garden related/craft stands.

Fota’s internationally recognised arboretum and gardens is delighted to host this year’s Rare & Special Plant Fair. “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.

Dating to the late Victorian period, the Victorian Working Garden comprises three stand-alone glasshouses, pit houses and bothy building which were all fully restored since the Irish Heritage Trust took responsibility for Fota in 2007.  The Victorian Working Garden is a beautifully restored space, lying to the back of the property. Since its restoration in 2012, the team of Gardeners and Fota Volunteers have been sharing the beauty of the Victorian glasshouses, bothy buildings and a wide variety of interesting and unusual planting with visitors.  Visitors are welcome to walk around this reclaimed space and explore the working glasshouses and pit houses.

To enhance the visitor experience guided tours of Fota House will be available at a 20% reduced entry fee. For tour bookings, please visit and enter the code RSP2022 which will provide a discount on available tours. The renowned Arboretum & Victorian Working Gardens will be accessible to all free of charge. Food options will also be available at Plant Fair site and in Bakestone Café at Fota House.

The Rare & Special Plant Fair was established in 2001 to ensure that the gardening public has an opportunity to purchase rare, unusual and special plants at reasonable prices, and to ensure that nurseries and breeders of these plants in Ireland have an opportunity to present them for sale. At the same time, the Fair aims to provide an opportunity for visitors to visit a private garden that they might not otherwise visit. The fair is an annual event, always held on the second Sunday in May. Over the years the event has grown in stature and reputation with the fair being hosted in some of Ireland’s most notable and beautiful private gardens, and more recently in public and state gardens of note, including Fancroft Millhouse Gardens, Roscrea, Lakeview Gardens, Co Cavan, Kilfane Glen, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, Anne’s Grove Gardens, Co Cork, Castleforbes, Co Longford, Farmleigh, Phoenix Park, Dublin, St. Anne’s Park, Raheny, Russborough House, Co. Wicklow, Killruddery House, Co. Wicklow Airfield Gardens and Farm, Dublin, Burtown House, Athy, Co. Kildare, Glin Castle, Glin, Co. Limerick and in 2021 Airfield, Dundrum, Dublin.


About Bord Bia

The role of Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, is to act as a link between Irish food, drink and horticulture suppliers and existing and potential customers throughout the world.  Our objective is to develop markets for Irish suppliers.