Powerscourt House, Gardens and Waterfall - Ennsikerry
Powerscourt House is a grand 18th century home that is located amongst one thousand acres of stunning grounds on Powerscourt Demesne. This stunning country estate is located in the heart of County Wicklow with lovely views of the great Sugarloaf Mountain. The approach to the house is down a mile long avenue of beech trees.
The estate has a rich and diverse history and was controlled by a number of powerful families over the years, and originally contained a 13th century castle. This beautiful Palladian Mansion was home to Lord Powerscourt and his family for more than three hundred and fifty years. The house was gutted by a fire in the 1970's leaving it as a shell, and was sympathetically restored and renovated in 1996, although it does not compare to its former glory. It is a three storey house and has at least sixty eight rooms. Unusually the reception rooms were on the first floor opposed to the usual ground floor. Only two of the rooms are open to the public and these are decorated as they would have been when resided in. There is an audio visual exhibition that narrates the rich history of the Estate and the family.
Located within the house is the Avoca Terrace Cafe where visitors can indulge themselves in a fine selection of Irish artisan home cooked cuisine, tasty homebaked treats, as well as mouth-watering desserts.
Also located in the house is a children's' museum containing a lovely collection of dollhouses, miniatures, dolls and antique toys. The real gem here is Tara's Palace a 22-room house miniature house that was inspired by a number of Palladian houses in Ireland, each room is decorated in stunning, hand-crafted miniatures. It is very popular amongst younger visitors.
There are also two lovely shops here in the house, the Global Village who specialise in interiors and Avoca Stores where visitors can browse amongst quality and unique Irish craft goods from the best in Irish design.
Powerscourt is well known for its beautiful landscaped grounds complete with themed gardens and a waterfall. They cover forty seven acres and are considered to be on of the finest gardens in Europe originally laid out in the 1740's but redesigned in the 19th century. They include ornate Italian and Japanese gardens, sweeping terraces, statues, intriguing water features and ornamental lakes. There are in excess of two hundred trees and shrubs as well as an extremely unusual pet cemetery, containing some very interesting pet names on the tombstones. These impressive and stunning gardens took around one hundred and fifty years to develop, and were created to encompass the surrounding landscape. The Japanese Gardens comprise of lovely bridges and water pools that are planted with Japanese maples and azaleas. The walled gardens are one of the oldest aspects of Powerscourt and have decorative gates, colourful rose beds and a delightful herbaceous border. Tower Valley is a woodland walk with an impressive range of trees and beautiful rhododendrons, containing some of Ireland's oldest and rarest trees. There are two walks that visitors can take to enjoy these beautiful gardens, the peace and tranquility and the surrounding vistas.
Powerscourt Waterfall is the tallest waterfall in Ireland standing at 121 metres. It is surrounded by lovely parkland and features lots of wildlife, just follow the nature trail to get the most out of a visit. The waterfall is not on the estate, it is about seven kilometres way and can be walked although it is quite hazardous as the roads are narrow and often there are no pathways. It is probably best to drive there, just follow the signs from the estate.
Powerscourt is ultimately a place of beauty and offers something for all vistors with many hidden treasures to explore, from lovely walks to the pepperpot tower, dolphin pond and the opportunity to relax in the Cafe and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Powerscourt run a number of programmes and events throughout the year, including guided walks, gardening workshops, theatre evenings, activities for children and much more. Full details are on their website.
Powerscourt House and Gardens are open daily throughout the year. With the gardens closing at dusk in the winter.