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Opening at Fota House

Opening at Fota House

An Taoiseach, Mr Brian Cowen, T.D. today visited Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens, Cork to celebrate the completed restoration of the first floor and the substantial donation of Irish Art and Furniture by the McCarthy Family and AIB.

The Taoiseach officially re-opened Fota House for the season and paid tribute to the Irish Heritage Trust’s achievements at Fota since it took over responsibility for the property in December 2007.

“I would like to congratulate the Irish Heritage Trust for all it has done for Fota in such a short period. The restoration work supported by the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government is vital for the ongoing regeneration of the property and its long term sustainability,” said the Taoiseach at Fota House. “The work here at Fota is a tremendous example of how the public, private and charitable sectors can work together to bring benefit for us all. The efforts and commitment of the McCarthy Family in partnership with AIB have prevented an important collection of art and furniture from leaving Ireland. The subsequent donation to the Irish Heritage Trust means that these items can now be enjoyed by visitors to Fota House forever”, he continued.

The collection has been described as the most significant of its type outside the National Gallery of Ireland and comprises almost 70 works of art and 50 pieces of Irish furniture. Particular highlights are masterpieces of the eighteenth-century Irish landscape school, with notable works by Thomas Roberts, his teacher George Mullins and contemporaries George Barret, Robert Carver and William Ashford. Among nineteenth-century works are significant paintings by Daniel Maclise, Erskine Nicol and James Arthur O’Connor. The restoration work carried out to the first floor provides for safe access for visitors and will allow the Trust to begin the careful process of restoring these rooms to their previous splendour.

Irish Heritage Trust Board Member, Sammy Leslie of Castle Leslie thanked the Taoiseach for taking the time to visit Fota. “The Trust is committed to finding sustainable solutions for important historic properties to enjoy forever. Heritage properties are also a business and key asset for local communities in social and economic terms. Here at Fota we are committed to providing employment and benefit for local businesses by providing a key tourism product for this region. We have also launched a volunteering programme and are committed to making Fota a place of artistic and architectural splendour, cultural tourism, education, celebration and family activities for all - a place of which Cork and Ireland can be immensely proud”.

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