Just nine miles east of Cork City is Fota Island. The name Fota means “warm soil” in Irish making it the ideal environment for exotic trees and plants gathered from all over the world. In the 1840s the Smith-Barry family implemented the planting of a vast arboretum and gardens surrounding Fota House. The collections of thousands of trees, shrubs and flowers spread throughout the 780 acres of Fota Arboretum and Gardens, which include paths, walled gardens, an Italian garden, gazebos, picnic areas, vast lawns, an ornamental pond, a fernery and an orangery.
In the spring gorgeous flowers in a rainbow of colors bloom everywhere. One wall in the garden is encrusted with a vast display of glorious purple wisteria. Plantings of roses, irises, and a myriad of other flowers attract huge bumblebees and the lenses of photographers. Cedars, magnolias, rhododendrons, spruce, fir and sequoias, many dating back hundreds of years are at their best in the spring and summer. In the autumn blossoms give way to fall color.
Free admission to the arboretum and gardens. There is a charge for touring Fota House.
© 2011 Michele Erdvig
“Ireland Travel Expert”
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