Powerscourt Estate and Garden are popular tourist attractions in Ireland

Situated in the lavishly green Wicklow County, Powerscourt Estate encompasses a house with some of the finest 18th century interiors in Ireland and Powerscourt Gardens, often called “The Gardens of Ireland.”

Roses bloom profusely in Powerscourt Garden

Since the estate is considered one of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions, we didn’t want to miss it. We walked five minutes from the Ritz Carlton Powerescourt Hotel where we were staying to the house and gardens, and spent about an hour admiring the landscape, although this place could easily command the better part of a day.

The estate was originally an important strategic site for the Anglo-Normans who came to Ireland in the 12th century. Eventually a castle was built there and owned by the Power family, from which its name comes. During the 18th century, Powerscourt was remodeled significantly with a magnificent mansion built around the shell of the earlier castle. The central courtyard was converted into an entrance hall beneath a beautiful ballroom.

A tragic fire broke out on November 4, 1974 and left the main part of the house a roofless shell. All the principal reception rooms and bedrooms were destroyed, but the thick stonework walls dating back to the 16th century were not damaged. In 1996 a renovation began to restore the house as it was before the fire. In the entrance hall today there’s an exhibition describing the history of the estate. Shops and a terrace café in the lower level of the house now accommodate the many tourists who come to view the estate.

Winged horses frame a pond in the formal garden

After walking through these venues, we headed outdoors to the spacious formal gardens. More than 47 acres were laid out during two main periods in the 18th and 19th centuries. Formal trees and parkland frame the vista from the house and look towards a pond with trails winding through the wooded grounds.

We especially enjoyed walking through the walled rose garden, which contains hundreds of colorful specimens. Italian terraces with intricate stone patterns in the more formal section captured my attention. Elaborately decorated steps led to a pond with a water spout guarded by dual winged horses. Every turn brought more beautiful things to see and, as usual, our cameras clicked nonstop.

Elaborate stone patterns decorated steps in the formal area

I’d like to say we meandered leisurely through the gardens in the sunshine, but with so little time we hurried to see as much as possible. The Garden contains an amazing collection of statuary, ironwork, and other decorative items in addition to growing things. If you can, plan enough time to sit on benches, enjoy a spot of tea, or mosey at a slow pace along the paths. We observed families enjoying the open spaces for active play or spreading out a blanket and relaxing.

Opened to visitors in 1974, the Gardens are currently owned by the Slazenger family, of tennis equipment fame, who have diligently overseen continued development and care of the estate.

Photos by Beverly Burmeier

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Read about the Ritz Carlton Powerscourt https://stripedpot.com/2011/11/07/ritz-carlton-powerscourt-near-dublin-appeals-to-all-your-senses/

 

 

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