Fota Pollinator Trail – Station 01

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Welcome to the Fota Pollinator Trail. By visiting the twelve stations you will learn more about Fota, Irish pollinators, pollinator-friendly plants and the pollination process. Did you know there is a Junior Pollinator Trail page for younger visitors? Why not check it out, too?

A Visit to Fota House

Fota House is Ireland’s finest example of Regency period architecture with superb neoclassical interiors. The main house dating from 1820, remained in the sole ownership of the Smith-Barry family for 155 years and today the Irish Heritage Trust shares the compelling life story of this family and their household staff.

Now an Irish Heritage Trust Property, a visit to Fota House also promises a magical adventure through a vast estate that spans from the globally renowned arboretum with its collection of rare tender and exotic plantings from the southern hemisphere, to the formal and working gardens that evolve with colour, scent & texture through each passing season.

Fota Arboretum contains an internationally recognised collection of trees from all parts of the world. Some are considered to be the finest examples of their type growing in Europe. First planting began in the 1840s and continues right up to the present day. The Arboretum & Gardens are cared for by the Office of Public Works.

Dating from the late Victorian period, the wonderful Victorian Working Garden comprises three restored stand-alone glasshouses, pit houses and bothy building. Fully restored by a team of volunteers via the Irish National Trust, witness the outcome of this phenomenal community effort that was recognised by the prestigious European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage (Europa Nostra Award). Learn how the gardens supplied Fota House with fruit and vegetables in the past, how plants are propagated and grown and the daily management of these gardens over hundreds of years to the present day.  

The word “Fota” comes from the Irish “Fód te” meaning warm soil and highlights the perfect conditions for the cultivation of rare varieties of plantation at this vast estate. This is a special opportunity to explore the magnificent gardens at Fota designed by James Hugh Smith-Barry in the early 19th century with the palm walk, orangery and atmospheric Victorian fernery. Multiple highlights include the formal gardens and the arboretum with its world-renowned collection of 19th and 20th century rare, tender and exotic trees from the southern hemisphere. 

OPW Office of Public Works logo
Fota House, Arboretum and Gardens, Irish Heritage Trust logo
Irish Bee Conservation Project logo