Fota gives the kind of pleasure and interest only a few arboreta can provide. It is the home of a world-famous collection of shrubs and trees. The arboretum forms part of the ornamental grounds of a Regency-style mansion. It has a water and rock garden as well as a walled Italian garden filled with plants from all around the world. Most striking of these are the South American and Chinese species which benefit from the mild, sheltered micro-climate generated by the environment. A demesne park embraces the house and gardens and takes up the whole 780-acre Fota Island. This island is located in one of the inlets of Cork Harbour and is touched by both road and rail connectsion from Cork to Cobh. The Fota (or Foaty) Gardens were first developed around 1825 after John Barry-Smith commissioned the father and son team of Richard and Vitruvius Morrison to develop an old hunting spot into his main Irish residence. The Morrisons made the ancillary buildings and could have also helped in laying out the garden and the demesne park. The lawns and Walled Garden were also attributed to John Barry-Smith’s inspirations and orders but the responsibility for creating the arboretum itself was the idea of his son, James Hugh Barry-Smith. He had the Water Garden and Fernery constructed as well as the Orangery and Temple. James’ son Arthur continued the improvements and really devoted himself to the development of the Fota Arboretum. The Fota Arboretum is situated about 9 miles east of Cork City on Cobh Road. The Arboretum is highly accessible by car – most especially a rented car. Renting a car and going on a car trip is a growing choice for travellers to Ireland. A car travel through the country is a great way to see the many attractions Ireland offers. Rented cars are also affordable. Car hire companies are located inside airports and ready to serve visitors the moment they arrive. Travellers can also choose to book their car rental online.
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