14 Feb Powerscourt
When you book a tour of Ireland with Ireland Luxury Tours we willl encourage you to visit hidden gems like “Powerscourt”
The pretty village of Enniskerry and the theatrical backdrop of the Wicklow Mountains add greatly to the appeal of this great estate, which covers about 5,500ha. Even the entrance drive is impressive – over a kilometre long.
James I granted the land to the 1st Viscount Powerscourt, Sir Richard Wingfield, in 1609. A magnificent house was designed by Richard Castle, whose Palladian handiwork can be seen all over Ireland. Unfortunately the great edifice burned to a shell in a disasterous accident in 1974, just after a long programme of restoration. Plans are afoot to recreate the house, but the phenomenal cost of the exercise has so far daunted enthusiasts. All that can be seen now are the splendid gardens, laid out on the south-facing slopes in front of the house which overlook the Great Sugar Loaf Mountain. They were first created in the mid-18th century soon after the completion of the house, but redesigned in the 19th century by the redoubtable Daniel Robertson with classical parterres and Italianate statuary. They contain glourious lakes with spouting fountains and winged horses, and magnificent specimen trees which grow to a prodigious height in this mid climate. Unusual touches include a Japenese garden (1908) on reclaimed bogland sporting little scarlet bridges, a pet cemetery dedicated to many faithful friends (Jack, Sting and Taffy), mosaic terraces made of beach pebbles from Bray, and neat, homely kitchen gardens. A garden centre, pleasant tea-room and a gift shop maximise tourist revenue.
An additional attraction about 6km away is the Powerscourt Waterfall, which plunges about 120m in a mare’s-tail plume down a jagged rock face. There are excellent local walks around the valley below.