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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Charity festival at Fota in 1956


Mrs Dorothy Bell loved Fota House and its gardens, and she occasionally opened them to the public for charity. Her mother in law Lady Charlotte Cole who lived at Fota before the Second World War also opened the house and every year gave a party for local children. Patty Butler, from Belvelly near Fota, was a member of the household staff and the following passage has been taken from her recollections of life in the house in the mid 20th century. She describes visiting Fota as a child:

‘Every year Lady Charlotte gave us children a party. It was held every summer in the Servants’ hall. There we enjoyed balloons, crackers, sweet cake and the thinnest slices of bread with butter from Fota farm. This sliced white bread was the nicest I had ever eaten. At home we ate homemade brown or sliced white, cut very thick like doorsteps.
We dressed in our Sunday clothes and marched in twos over the bridge and up the drive to Fota House. Mrs Mary Ann Collins, the school teacher marched before us carrying the tricolour. We had races in the golf Links, three legged races and egg and spoon races. I never won anything but my sister Charlotte won a lot of races. At the end of the day every child got a small present. I remember getting a toy rabbit that was able to jump along the ground. I thought this was fantastic. I also got an orange and an apple.'

Patricia Butler, Treasured Times, a memory of Fota House 1947-1975. (2004)

Open Resource