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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Ellie Butler


Big houses such as Fota provided a great deal of employment for the local community - this was particularly important in rural areas where there were few  employment opportunities. Often many members or generations of the same family would work in the houses. Patty Butler was from Belvelly, a village situated close to Fota and many people from there and Carrigtwohill worked at Fota and lived in houses owned by the Smith Barry estates. Patty and her relatives Peggy and Ellie all found employment at Fota. In her book Treasured Times: a memory of Fota House, Patty's recollections give us a great insight into life in a big house:

'In Mrs Bell's time, dances were frequently held in a the drawing room. Ellie butler told me about the long dresses. The ladies wore silks and satins adorned with priceless jewellery - it was a spectacular sight. Ellie used to look [at the dancers] through one of the many big windows.'

Open Resource