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Restoration of the three historical Glasshouses at Fota Arboretum 1


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Restoration of the three historical Glasshouses at Fota Arboretum 1 - 1

Joinery in ireland: Restoration of the three historical Glasshouses at Fota Arboretum The scenario: The solution: Glasshouses in the world renowned gardens of Fota House have been restored to their former glory with the use of Accoya® wood. The restoration project was commissioned by the Irish Heritage Trust after its purchase of the estate in 2007. The 19th century property in Cork, Ireland, had been abandoned almost 40 years ago and had deteriorated to a virtual ruin. The Fota House restoration began in 2010. The glasshouses were given paramount importance within the project as they embodied the Edwardian horticultural heritage. The word ‘Fota’ itself in the traditional Gaelic language translates as ‘warm soil’, hence the presence of many exotically cultivated plants in the gardens of the estate. It was here that the Smith-Barry family started planting the most exotic species of trees as far back as the 1840’s. With a view to reinstating the glasshouses’ original historic feel, it was essential to save as much of the original construction as possible. Fota House is located just outside the city of Cork, near to Cork Harbour, where constantly changing weather conditions have a heavy impact on local buildings. Accoya® wood, supplied by Abbey Woods, was selected as the material of choice for the restoration of the glasshouses due to its renowned Class 1 durability and stability in all weather conditions. The restoration project of the three glasshouses was in fact more of a challenge than it initially seemed. It required much patience and attention to detail as every element of the construction needed to be carefully documented before being dismantled. Moreover, every element which could be, had to be reused, making it a meticulous and lengthy process, but the results proved to be well worth the wait. 1 of 2

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Restoration of the three historical Glasshouses at Fota Arboretum 1 - 2

The result: Some of the roof members had to be replaced but most were salvaged and carefully repaired. The rot was worse along the top edge of the rafters and at the birds-mouth joint where they joined the vertical window frames. The rot was removed to sound timber and skillfully cut Accoya® splices were stitched-in. The traditional way to repair old timbers would be to cut a new splice, label it and send it away for preservative treating and then fit it when returned. The use of Accoya® sped up and simplified the process by avoiding the need for preservation. Accoya® wood was also the...

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