Completed Works

Fota C19th Glasshouses Restoration


Category: Horticulture / Tourism
Location: Fota House, Arboretum and Gardens, Co. Cork
Date: Completed November 2011
Description: In 2008 the Irish Heritage Trust, requested John J. O’Connell Architects to review the late C19th glasshouses at Fota House. These glasshouses, built from 1860-1890, had been abandoned 30 years previously and left hidden and almost forgotten within the walled gardens. They were found enveloped in vegetation and in a collapsed condition with ivy scrub, saplings and bramble in fact propping the glasshouse structures up. Despite the dilapidated condition of the glasshouses, they were highlighted as one of very few surviving of their kind in Ireland and the UK.

After extensive research, a restoration strategy was developed to ensure all the elements of the Victorian glasshouses could be conserved in order to restore the original aesthetic, unity and legibility. Through comprehensive recording and analysis of the surviving materials and investigating methods of repair, all existing metalwork, masonry and 60% of the surviving main timber structure were restored.

The restoration was awarded Irish Georgian Society Conservation award in 2012.

"The assessors feel that the work of the conservation team and role of the client illustrate conservation practise at its best".
Dr. Edward McParland, IGS Assessor

Shortlisted for the RIAI Conservation Award and Public Choice Award in 2012