Primary Resources

This resource gallery has been developed to be used for pre visit preparatory work and for post visit reference. You will find a range of primary documents and material here that links to the themes in each unit. By clicking on any image below you can access background information on the source and also find out where it came from and where it is currently held.

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Dorothy Bell (1894-1975)


Dorothy was the youngest daughter of Arthur Hugh Smith Barry and she inherited Fota in 1936.

Dorothy’s half brother James from her father’s first marriage, died aged eight months old in 1870. A legend surrounds his wet nurse, who on losing her position is said to have cursed the family and damned its inheritance through the male line. When Lord Barrymore died in 1925 Fota and the Smith Barry estates passed first to Arthur Hugh's brother James and then to James’ son Robert and it was he who passed the house on to his cousin Dorothy. Robert’s ambivalence about the house lends weight to the tale of the family curse.

Dorothy Smith Barry married Major William Bertram Bell in 1917. She had inherited Marbury, the family house and estate in England in 1925, but decided to sell it in 1936 in order to live at Fota. Mrs Bell loved Fota, and particularly the gardens and arboretum where she spent many happy hours. 

Major Bell died in 1973 followed by Mrs Bell in 1975 and the youngest of their three daughters, Rosemary Villiers inherited the house. Mrs Villiers and her family moved to England and Fota was sold the University College Cork as an extra mural campus in or about 1975.

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