Minister commends all involved in €2.5m Fota restoration
MINISTER FOR Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar yesterday paid tribute to all involved in the conservation of Fota House in Cork when he unveiled a plaque to mark completion of a €2.5 million restoration.
Mr Varadkar said conclusion of the project on the house, which came into public ownership in the 1970s, added yet another visitor attraction in east Cork which should help boost tourism there.
“It’s great to be here . . . the opening of the refurbishment of Fota House and it forms a whole cluster of attractions in the Cork Harbour area which has a huge amount to offer tourists . . . My department has invested some €1.7million into this project as part of its ongoing commitment to maintain and improve important tourism and cultural attractions.”
The house was originally a hunting lodge belonging to the Smith Barry family. But when John Smith Barry decided to move from Britain to Cork in 1820, he commissioned Irish architects, Sir Richard Morrison and his son William Morrison, to design a suitable residence.
The elegant Regency style house was created with the addition of two new wings, a handsome Doric portico was added and the interior was opened up through the use of fine scagliola columns leading to a stone staircase.
Fota House is owned by the Irish Heritage Trust which acquired Fota in 2007 and managed to secure Fáilte Ireland funding for improvements.
Irish Heritage Trust chief executive Kevin Baird paid tribute to Fáilte Ireland, who donated the €1.7 million towards the four-year restoration project. The project also included some work on Fota’s aboretum and gardens.
“We are delighted to have received such generous support from Fáilte Ireland. Their investment in Fota has created a world class property,” said Mr Baird.