Powerscourt – Spectacular Irish Gardens
One of the must sees when visiting Ireland is the magnificent Powerscourt Estate and Gardens. Just south of Dublin in Wicklow its an easy drive and there are many bus tours to the area. It only takes about an hour to drive to Powerscourt from central Dublin and it is very easy to find. There is not much to see in the way of a house tour, but there are some interesting shops including the Avoca Store inside the building. A must see is Tara’s Dollhouse the Museum of Childhood which is well worth the extra €5 euro entry fee.
Located in County Wicklow and set within some of the most stunning views in the east of Ireland. Powerscourt was originally a 13th-century castle whose original owner was a de la Poer (anglicized as Power). In 1603, King James 1st granted Powerscourt to one of his generals, Sir Richard Wingfield, after he successfully squashed a rebellion of local Irish chiefs in Wicklow. The 1st Viscount Powerscourt set about transforming the medieval castle at Powerscourt into a grand mansion. The new mansion was to be Palladian in style and designed around the medieval castle.
In 1974, a major refurbishment of the house was completed in preparation for it joining the gardens as a visitor attraction but unfortunately a fire broke out and by the morning, the main part of the house was a roofless shell. No one was injured, but all of the principal reception rooms and bedrooms were destroyed. In 1996, the house was re-roofed and was opened to the public.
Powerscourt Estate now
The Gardens at Powerscourt are the great attraction of the place. With stunning views of Sugarloaf Mountain they stretch over 47 acres and offer a breathtaking blend of formal gardens, statuary, fountains, lakes, Japanese gardens, a pet Cemetery, the Pepperpot Tower, sweeping terraces, secret hollows and rambling walks.
The Pepperpot Tower is designed after Lord Powerscourt favourite pepperpot and the Pet Cemetery is the largest in Ireland. In the Walled Italian Gardens were designed in the 1840’s and took over 12 years to build.
The pebble mosaic stairs and terraces are astounding. Don’t miss the Bamberg Gate which was brought from Germany in the walled gardens and don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers if you are there in spring or summer.
Don’t forget to go and visit Powerscourt Waterfall it is Ireland’s highest at 121m (398ft.) and is 6km from the Main Estate. It is set in one of Ireland’s most beautiful parklands at the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains. These stunning falls were used in the History Channel’s TV epic drama The Vikings.
The house itself is home to the Avoca Shop and the Avoca Terrace Cafe, which serves up a fabulous lunch or just a simple scone with cream tea. The Avoca shops are known for their gorgeous hand woven blankets and beautiful weavings. The company also designs a host of items that can be purchased and the stores were voted one of the best retail experiences outside of London. Don’t miss the Avoca FoodHall were you can buy some gourmet meals to take with you or just indulge your foodie fantasies with some freshly baked breads, scones and cakes to take home.
Upstairs in the house is Tara’s Palace the Museum of Childhood that contains the largest period dolls house in Ireland. The exhibits of children’s toys and games is quite outstanding but it is the collection of dolls houses that is simply outstanding. Tara’s Palace is a remarkable house with Waterford crystal chandeliers a solid gold miniature violin and finely replicated rooms that are over 300 years old.
. Opening Times
- Daily: 9.30am – 5.30pm (Last entry 5pm)
• Gardens close at dusk in Winter (Last entry during winter is 30 minutes before dusk)
• The Gardens are open year-round and only close December 25th & 26th
Ballroom & Garden Rooms
- Sundays 9:30am – 1:30pm – All Year
• Mondays 9:30am – 1:30pm – May to September
Avoca Terrace Café
- Daily: 9.30am – 5.00pm
Gardens Entrance Fees: 1st November – 28th February
Child (U13) €3.50
Child (U5) Free
Family Ticket €18.00 (2 adults & up to 3 children) SAVE €9 with our family ticket
Tara’s Palace costs €5.00 per adult and children are €3 Euros
If you would like to read some more on day trips from Dublin here are a few posts you might be interested in
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