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.

Ellie Butler

Ellie Butler who worked as a housemaid at Fota in Lord Barrymore's time.

Family fun at Fota

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Fota House

John Smith Barry(1793 – 1837) was responsible for enlarging Fota house from the modest 18th century hunting lodge into the grand country seat we see today.

Fota House


Fota House..' a chaste commodious Grecian building..'

Group of servants in Curraghmore House Co. Waterford

The indoor servants photographed on the steps of Curraghmore House in Co Waterford. 

John Smith Barry (1793 – 1837)

Portrait of John Smith Barry,  who was responsible for enlarging Fota house from a modest hunting lodge into an imposing country house. 


The kitchen at Fota -  where the cook reigned supreme. 

Mr George Russell, Fota’s last butler.

The butler at Fota,  George Russell pictured off-duty. 

Patty Butler joins the household staff in 1947

Patty Butler joined the household staff at Fota as a teenager in 1947. Initially intimidated by the sheer size of the house, she soon grew to love Fota and those who lived there. 

Photograph of the staff at Fota from 1948

A property such as Fota demanded a large staff as can be seen from this photograph from 1948.

Plan of the first floor at Fota.

This plan illustrates the functional layout of the house - with the nursery close to the servants' wing so they could easily tend to the children. 

Servants’ call bells

The call bells in the service wing at Fota that summoned the servants to different rooms.

Sketch of a Maid

This pensive image of a housemaid is from a collection of sketches by William Brocas in the National Library of Ireland. The collection is a wonderful example of how the artist was a thoughtful and prolific recorder of life in 19th century Ireland.

Stucco drapery detail in the Boudoir

This feigned or imitation drapery is a feature of the plaster decoration in the Boudoir

The Boudoir

The boudoir at Fota was a small exquisitely decorated room that was used as a personal retreat for ladies.

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