Fota Island

Fota (statutory spelling Foaty; Irish: Fóite)[1][2] is an island in Cork Harbour, Ireland, just north of the larger island of Great Island. Fota Island is host to Ireland's only wildlife park – as well as the historical Fota House and gardens and golf course owned by the "Fota Island Golf Club and Resort". The island comprises two townlands both called Foaty: one each in the civil parishes of Clonmel (the western half of Great Island) and Carrigtohill (on the mainland).[3][4]

Foaty Island
Native name:
Oileán Fhóta
Foaty Island is located in island of Ireland
Foaty Island
Foaty Island
Location in Ireland
LocationCork Harbour
Coordinates51°53′57″N 8°17′54″W / 51.89917°N 8.29833°W
CountyCounty Cork
Ethnic groupsIrish


Although Foaty is the spelling fixed in the nineteenth century by the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, Fota is now more common. The origin of the name is uncertain.[5] It may be of Hiberno-Norse origin, with second element Old Norse oy "island"; Donnchadh Ó Corráin suggests fódr oy "foot island", from its position at the mouth of the River Lee down from Cork city; some medieval references have an -r- in the name.[5] Ó Corráin is sceptical of proposed Gaelic etymologies, fód thige "sod house", fodh teith "warm sod", and feóidhte "decayed/withered".[5]

Fota House and Gardens

Fota House

Fota House - - 734620
View of Fota House.

Fota House was the former home of the Smith-Barry family (Earls of Barrymore since 1627), descendants of Philip de Barry. The de Barry family came from Wales as part of the Norman invasion of Ireland. The family were granted lands at Fota and elsewhere in 1185. The family first resided at Barryscourt Castle, Carrigtwohill, then at Castlelyons where they held extensive lands. Fota House was originally a hunting lodge and became the family's main residence in the 1820s when the architect, Sir Richard Morrison (1767–1849) and his son Vetruvius Morrison (1794–1838),[6] created the present regency mansion with over 70 rooms.

The last member of the Smith-Barry family to live in Fota House was Dorothy Elizabeth Bell (1894–1975), daughter of Arthur Smith-Barry, 1st Baron Barrymore (1843–1925). She continued to develop and record the plant collections in the gardens and in the arboretum, which her family had started in the 1840s. On Mrs Bell's death in 1975 the estate was sold to University College, Cork.

During the latter part of the last century, the house fell into some disrepair – culminating in the collapse of a ceiling. This closed the house to the public for some time. It was restored using EU, Irish government and private funding, prior to reopening in early 2002. In December 2007, the new Irish Heritage Trust[7] took over responsibility for Fota House.

Fota Gardens

Fota Gardens and Arboretum - - 768149
View of Fota Gardens and Arboretum.

Fota Gardens are in the grounds of Fota House. These consist of a structured arboretum, walled garden and terraces. The gardens include rare and exotic shrubs and trees, along with an extensive rose garden.

The layout and structure of the arboretum and gardens date largely from the tenure of the Smith-Barry family, who recognised the significance of Fota's sheltered location and warm soil — "Fota" is derived from the Irish "Fód te" meaning warm soil. The conditions are appropriate for the growing and cultivation of certain trees and exotic plants.

The development of the arboretum and gardens coincided with the great plant hunting expeditions around the world bringing back specimens from places such as Asia, South America and the Pacific coast of northwest America. Some of these rare plants found their way to Fota within a few years of their discovery.

In the 1840s, John Smith-Barry ensured that trees were well-spaced - enabling them to thrive with displays of seasonal colour. The family also recorded the plant collections throughout the 19th and most of the 20th century and this work of cataloguing, conservation and development continues today.

Many of these plant collections are arranged in association with the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin, and other botanic institutions such as the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, Scotland.

In 1996 the State was given control of the arboretum and gardens. They are now administered by the Office of Public Works in conjunction with the Irish Heritage Trust.

Fota Island Resort

Fota Island Resort lies within a 780-acre estate (originally the Fota House demesne) comprising woodlands and landscaped areas. Its golf course consisted of three par 71 championship courses. These courses were named Deerpark (Par 71), Belvelly (Par 72) and Barryscourt (Par 73). Golf was first played in Fota Island in 1886. Since then it was continually developed and became one of the premier locations in golfing. In 1993, Fota Island Golf Club was further developed by Christy O'Connor Junior (Irish Ryder Cup), and Peter McEvoy (two-time British Amateur Champion). The golf resort has hosted a number of tournaments, including the Irish Club Professional Championship, 2011 PGA Europro "Audi Cork Irish Masters",[8] and the Murphy's Irish Open in 2001 and 2002.

In 2004 the resort was purchased by the Killeen Group (owners of Mount Juliet Golf & Spa Hotel in Kilkenny), who invested to bring facilities in-line with European Tour standards.[9] In November 2004, Killeen sold the club to the Fleming Group.[9] The Fleming Group also improved the course by renovating some of the holes and reseeding the trees surrounding the golf course. In 2006, the Fleming Group completed construction of the 5-star Fota Island Hotel & Spa as well self-catering accommodation.

On 27 September 2013, Fota Island Resort management announced a handover to new owners, the Kang Family Worldwide Group.[10] The Kang family, originally from Hebei Province in China, acquired the 500-acre resort from the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).

Fota Wildlife Park

A family of giraffes at Fota Wildlife Park (geograph 2885200)
Giraffes at Fota Wildlife Park

Opened in July 1983 by the President of Ireland, Dr Patrick Hillery, Fota Wildlife Park has the primary aim of conservation of global wildlife. It is a joint project of the Zoological Society of Ireland and University College, Cork.

Fota Wildlife Park has more than 70 species of exotic wildlife in open surroundings. Animals include ostriches, giraffes, kangaroos, zebras and antelope. Most of the animals who inhabit the island are allowed to roam throughout more than 202,000 square metres (50 acres) of mature grassland, with the exception of the cheetahs and other predators, which have fenced enclosures. Ring-tailed lemurs, wallabies and other animals freely roam the park.

Many of the animals at Fota are under threat of extinction, and Fota Wildlife Park is involved in breeding programs for these endangered species, as well as being a breeding source for other zoos around the world. For example, under these programs, "Bonnie", a red panda from Dublin Zoo, was moved to Fota to breed with Fota's male red panda "Pete".

An Asian sanctuary opened between in 2015, and includes enclosures for tigers and other animals. In 2017 the park was the eleventh most popular paid attraction in Ireland, with 455,559 visitors that year.[11]


By rail, the island is served by Fota railway station, which opened on 1 July 1865.[12]

By road, Fota lies just south of the N25 road from Cork to Rosslare. It is directly accessible via Cobh and Carrigtwohill on the R624 regional road - which runs from Tullagreen (N25 Southside Carrigtwohill-Cobh interchange) to Cobh town Center.


  1. ^ "Foaty (island)". Placenames Database of Ireland. Dublin City University. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Foaty Island". Archived from the original on 30 November 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  3. ^ "Foaty (townland)". Placenames Database of Ireland. Dublin City University. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  4. ^ "Sheet CK 075 surveyed 1841". Six-inch map, first edition. Ordnance Survey Ireland. 10 July 1845. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Ó Corráin, Donnchadh (1997). "Note: Old-Norse place names I: Fodri, Foatey, Fota". Peritia. Brepols. 11: 52. doi:10.1484/J.Peri.3.291. ISSN 0332-1592.
  6. ^ Leland, Mary,Let's do all we can to make sure it's not a Fota finish,, 27 June 2004.
  7. ^ Irish Heritage Trust, Republic of Ireland.
  8. ^ "Fota Island Resort hosts Audi Cork Irish Masters once again". Fota Island Resort (press release).
  9. ^ a b "Killeen sells Fota Island for around €20m". Irish Times. 23 October 2004. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Fota Island Resort". Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  11. ^ Ireland's top 20 attractions, both fee paying and free, revealed (Report). 7 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Fota station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 31 August 2007.

External links


Belvelly (Irish: Béal an Bhealaigh, meaning "Mouth of the roadway") is a small village on the northern end of the Great Island of Cork Harbour, about four miles north of the town of Cobh, County Cork, Ireland.

Belvelly is situated at the shortest crossing point between Great Island and the neighbouring Fota Island. Belvelly Bridge (built in 1803) connects Great Island to Fota Island, which is in turn connected to the mainland near Carrigtwohill.

The little village has two historic buildings, Belvelly Castle and the nearby Belvelly Martello Tower. The castle was built by the Hodnett family around the 15th century at a strategic location and much to the annoyance of the more powerful de Barry family, who later seized the castle.There was a schoolhouse at Belvelly until the 1990s, and this was later converted into a dwelling house. The Martello tower at Belvelly has also been converted to a family home, but its 13-foot-thick (4.0 m) walls and its status as a historical monument meant that most light has to come from the roof area.

Belvelly Castle

Belvelly Castle is a 14th or 15th-century tower house in County Cork. It is situated next to the small village of Belvelly, opposite and overlooking the only road bridge connecting Fota Island to Great Island (on which the town of Cobh is situated).

The castle was originally built by and for the Anglo-Norman Hodnett family, but was taken by the De la Roch (Roche) and De Barra (Barry) families in the 14th-century. The Hodnetts later however leased-back their lands. Some sources suggest that Walter Raleigh occupied the castle in the 16th-century, before being reoccupied by the De Barra family, and used by Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery to garrison troops during the Irish Confederate Wars in the mid-17th century.

By the 19th century the castle had fallen into ruin. During World War I, the castle received an increase in visitors when local coachmen brought sailors docked at nearby Queenstown (Cobh) to the castle - reputedly under the impression that they were actually visiting Blarney Castle and its Blarney Stone. The castle was occupied and somewhat modified by the Irish Army during the Emergency (1939-1945).The castle was sold in the early 21st century, with planning permission granted in early 2016 for restoration for use as a private dwelling. This renovation and redevelopment was completed in late 2018, with additional artworks positioned on the roof of the tower house.


Carrigtwohill, officially Carrigtohill (Irish: Carraig Thuathail, meaning "Tuathal's rock"), is a town in County Cork, Ireland with a population of 5,080 (2016). It is 12 kilometres east of Cork city. It is connected to Cork Suburban Rail and is bypassed by the N25 road. Carrigtwohill is one of the fastest growing towns in the region, and a hub for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Cork Harbour

Cork Harbour (Irish: Cuan Chorcaí) is a natural harbour and river estuary at the mouth of the River Lee in County Cork, Ireland. It is one of several which lay claim to the title of "second largest natural harbour in the world by navigational area" (after Port Jackson, Sydney). Other contenders include Halifax Harbour in Canada, Trincomalee Harbour in Sri Lanka and Poole Harbour in England.

The harbour has been a working port and a strategic defensive hub for centuries, and it has been one of Ireland's major employment hubs since the early 1900s. Traditional heavy industries have waned since the late 20th century, with the likes of the closure of Irish Steel in Haulbowline and shipbuilding at Verolme. It still has major and strategic significance in energy generation, shipping, refining and pharmaceuticals.

East Cork

East Cork lies in south-west Ireland, in Ireland's largest county, County Cork. The term "East Cork" is used in tourism, sporting and other contexts, and for example is the name given to one of eight municipal districts of Cork County Council.East Cork contains one of the world's largest natural harbours, Cork Harbour. Fota Island (including Fota House and Gardens and Fota Wildlife Park) is also east of Cork City, and Fota Island Golf Course hosted the Irish Open golf tournament in 2001.

Towns and "key villages" in the East Cork municipal district of Cork County Council include Midleton, Youghal, Castlemartyr, Cloyne, Killeagh, Whitegate and Aghada.

Elliot Saltman

Elliot Saltman (born 24 March 1982) is a Scottish professional golfer. He is affiliated to Archerfield Links.

Saltman was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is the brother of Lloyd Saltman and the grandson of former Hibernian goalkeeper Tommy Younger. His youngest brother Zack, is also a professional golfer.In July 2009 Saltman and his brother Lloyd both qualified for the Open Championship at Turnberry, to become the first brothers to appear together in The Open since Seve and Manuel Ballesteros in 1985.Elliot had his best Challenge Tour finish to date in the 2010 Fred Olsen Challenge de España where he finished second, having led after three rounds, with prize money of €16,500.Elliot was suspended from European Tour and Challenge Tour tournaments for three months in 2011 for a 'serious breach' of the rules during the Russian Challenge Cup in September 2010. He was accused of replacing his ball on the green incorrectly during the first round. Saltman maintained that he hadn't knowingly broken the rules but decided not to appeal against the suspension.Elliot and his brother Lloyd both gained full European Tour Cards in December 2010. He played in 18 European Tour events in 2011 but only made the cut four times and finished 198th in the Race to Dubai. His best performance was 12th in the 2011 Saab Wales Open and prize money of €33,471.60. During this tournament Elliot had two holes-in-one at the 17th hole.Saltman qualified for the 2012 Open Championship at Southport & Ainsdale in the Local Final Qualifying on Tuesday, 3 July. He scored 68 and 70 and was then involved in a playoff. The same week he won the Audi Cork Irish Masters, a PGA EuroPro Tour event, played on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Fota Island Resort. Scores of 71, 67 and 61 gave him victory by 8 shots and the £10,000 first prize.

Fota Wildlife Park

Fota Wildlife Park is a 100-acre (40 ha) wildlife park located on Fota Island, near Carrigtwohill, County Cork, Ireland. Opened in 1983, it is an independently funded, not-for-profit charity that is one of the leading tourism, wildlife and conservation attractions in Ireland. The park had an attendance of 455,559 visitors in 2017, making it the eleventh most popular paid attraction in Ireland for that year.The park is home to nearly 30 mammal and 50 bird species. Some of the animals roam freely with the visitors, such as the ring-tailed lemurs and wallabies, while larger animals, including the giraffe and bison, live in paddocks with barriers that are intended to be unobtrusive for visitors to view the animals in a more natural environment. Fota Wildlife Park also has red pandas, tapirs, siamang gibbons and other types of animals.

Fota railway station

Fota railway station serves Fota Island in County Cork.

It is a station on the Cork to Cobh commuter service. Travel to Glounthaune station to transfer to Midleton.

Glenbrook, County Cork

Glenbrook (Irish: Gleann an Fheileastraim) is a village in the townland of Lackaroe, between Passage West and Monkstown in County Cork, Ireland. Monkstown, Glenbrook and Passage West are three villages along Cork Harbour's R610 route. The Cross River Ferry at Glenbrook links the Owenabue Valley with East Cork, Fota Island and Cobh.

Great Island

Great Island (Irish: An tOileán Mór) is an island in Cork Harbour, at the mouth of the River Lee in Ireland. The largest town on the island is Cobh, and the island's economic and social history has historically been linked to the naval, ship-building, and shipping activities in the town's environs. Located close to Cork city, as of the 21st century, a key economic driver is tourism – including the cruise tourism attracted by the Port of Cork berthing facilities on the island.

Historic Cork Gardens

Historic Cork Gardens of County Cork, Ireland.

Irish Amateur Open Championship

The Irish Amateur Open Championship is an amateur golf tournament held annually in Ireland and organised by the Golfing Union of Ireland. The championship has been played as a 72-hole stroke-play event since 1958. Previously it was played as a match-play tournament.

The GUI also runs the Irish Amateur Close Championship which is restricted to players born in (or with a parent born in) Ireland or (at the discretion of the GUI) resident in Ireland at least five years.

Irish Open (golf)

The Irish Open (Irish: Comórtas Oscailte na hÉireann) is a professional golf tournament on the European Tour. The title sponsor is currently Dubai Duty Free.

The Irish Open was first played in 1927 and was played annually, except for the war years, until 1950. There was a tournament in 1953, but the event was then not played again until revived in 1975. It has been contested annually since then. From 1963 to 1974 Carroll's sponsored a tournament, generally called the Carroll's International and in 1975 they became the sponsor of the Irish Open which became known as the Carroll's Irish Open.

The Irish Open is one of the European Tour Rolex Series events. The Rolex Series started in 2017, with each tournament in the series having a minimum prize fund of $7 million. The date was moved to early July, two weeks before the Open Championship.

Since 2014 (except in 2016), it has been one of the Open Qualifying Series with the leading three players who have not already qualified and who finish in the top ten, qualifying for the Open Championship.

Little Island, Cork

Little Island, County Cork, is a civil parish and mainly industrial area to the east of Cork city in Ireland. It is no longer an island, since the northern channel separating it from the mainland has filled over. To the west and south is Lough Mahon, part of Cork Harbour; across a channel to the east is Fota Island.

Normans Grove Chase

The Normans Grove Chase was a Grade 2 steeplechase National Hunt race in Ireland. It was run at Fairyhouse Racecourse over a distance of 2 miles and 1 furlong and took place each year in March or April at the course's Easter Festival. The 2017 running was moved to a fixture in early April to avoid clashing with similar races at the Punchestown Festival. Prior to 2013 the race took place in January.

The race was first run in 1997. It was awarded Grade 3 status in 2004 and then raised to Grade 2 status the following year.

The race was run for the last time in 2017. In 2018, Fairyhouse and Navan agreed to swap the distances of their two Graded Chases scheduled for the spring, leading to the creation of the Devenish Chase and the discontinuation of this race.

R624 road (Ireland)

The R624 road is a regional road in Ireland which runs from the south-east of the N25 in Tullagreen, County Cork to Cobh town centre. It runs to several of County Cork's most popular attractions, including Fota Island resort and wildlife park.

An upgrade had been proposed for the R624, originally planned to begin in 2010. This upgrade expected a new section to the road, to replace the existing road from Tullagreen N25 Carrigtwohill-Cobh Interchange to Belvelly. As of late 2015, no funding for development works on the R624 had been confirmed. However in late 2015 and early 2016, a number of calls were made for funding to be allocated, in particular to fund works on the road's main bridges.The road is 9.5 km (5.9 mi) long.

Red Rum Handicap Chase

The Red Rum Handicap Chase is a Grade 3 National Hunt steeplechase in Great Britain which is open to horses aged five years or older. It is run on the Mildmay course at Aintree over a distance of about 2 miles (1 mile, 7 furlongs and 176 yards, or 3,178 metres), and during its running there are twelve fences to be jumped. It is a handicap race, and it is scheduled to take place each year in early April.

The event is named in memory of Red Rum, a three-time winner of the Grand National in the 1970s. It was formerly known as the Aintree Chase, and it was retitled the Red Rum Chase in 1997.

The race used to be contested as a limited handicap (a race where a restricted weight range is specified), and it was given Grade 2 status in 1991. It became a standard handicap in 2001, and since then it has been called the Red Rum Handicap Chase. This version was initially classed at Listed level, and it was promoted to Grade 3 status in 2004.

William Mackey Lomasney

William Mackey Lomasney (1841 – December 13, 1884) was a member of the Fenian Brotherhood and the Clan na Gael who, during the Fenian dynamite campaign organized by Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa, was killed in a failed attempt to dynamite London Bridge.

Born the son of Irish immigrants in Cincinnati, Ohio (although other accounts claim he emigrated with his parents to Detroit, Michigan at the age of 3), Mackey served in the American Civil War and later became involved in the Irish nationalist movement. Travelling to Ireland to take part in the Fenian Rising in 1865, he was arrested by British authorities in Cork and ordered to leave the country along with John McCafferty.

However, upon his return two years later, he and James X. O'Brien participated in the capture of the Ballyknockane Constabulary barracks. He also briefly captured and held the Monning Martello tower near Fota Island in Cork Harbour; this tower is believed to have been the only Martello tower ever captured. After the rebellion's end, he continued raiding gunshops and coastguard stations throughout Cork for over twelve months before his eventual capture by authorities on February 7, 1868.

Tried for murder and treasonous felony, he was sentenced to twelve years penal servitude on March 21, 1868. While imprisoned in Millbank Prison, he became acquainted with John Devoy. He was released under a general amnesty in 1871 on condition that he return to his native country.

Upon his return to the United States, he settled in Detroit, Michigan and opened a book and stationery store. A later member of the American Land League, he became involved in the Clan na Gael and had been in France to make a withdrawal from the treasury of the Irish Republican Brotherhood from which he was to return to Ireland to plan for a possible rebellion with Devoy. However, as a wave of dynamite bombings occurred in Great Britain during early 1881, he and Devoy would correspond with each other both condemning Rossa's actions and the idea for a "bloodless revolution" in Ireland.

On the early evening of December 13, 1884, Mackey rowed out in a boat with his brother and John Fleming with the intention of destroying London bridge. the attack failed when the dynamite they were attaching to a pier exploded prematurely. While none of the bodies were ever found, the Clan na Gael paid a pension to his widow and four children.

Historic Irish houses and castles
Rest of Leinster
Harbour islands
Industry and economy
Naval and military


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.