The Powerscourt Gardens, located in County Wicklow, has been voted number 3 of the top 10 gardens in the world by National Geographic. It was to be our morning adventure. I was up early and, reluctantly, went for a walk among the office towers of the business park. I would certainly make up the lack of nature at the gardens. The Powerscourt estate was only a short drive from the hotel.
The Powerscourt House was originally a 13th Century castle built by an Anglo-Norman named La Poer. The name was eventually Anglicized to Power. In the 16th Century it came into the possession of the Powerscourt family. In the 18th Century the 1st Viscount James Wingfield had the castle rebuilt as a house – 1731 – 1741.
In 1961 the Slazenger family (of Slazenger Sports Equipment) purchased the house from the 9th Viscount and are the current owners.
We first had to drive through the village of Enniskerry. It was built as part of the Powerscourt estate to house the tenants. ;The town clock was built by the 6th Viscount and unveiled on St Patrick’s Day, 1843. The base is in the shape of a shamrock.
Disney had planned to film Enchanted 2 (Disenchanted) in Enniskerry. Some scenes were initially shot but there was disagreement among the villagers whether to have Disney filming there. As a result, Disney left and the scenes were reshot elsewhere
Standing on the terrace of the house provides an amazing view of the gardens. They suggest 90 minutes to see the gardens. A map is provided to help with the tour of the Japanese Garden, the Italian Garden, the tree row, the walled garden, fountain and Tower Valley.
Of course, being the animal lover that I am, I headed straight to the Pets Cemetery. Yes, I know, strange. But I had never been to a pet cemetery before. It contains the much loved pets of both the Wingfield and Slazenger families. It is the largest private pet cemetery in Ireland. It includes the children’s ponies Tommy and his wife Magic. And the family cow, Eugenie who had 17 calves and produced over 100,000 gallons of milk.
There is an avenue of beech trees that greets the visitor. They were planted over 250 years ago by the 1st Viscount. The variety of trees really stands out including Douglas-Firs, Corsican Pines, Giant Redwoods, Atlantic Cedars, Noble Firs.
Sugarloaf Mountain in the background.
But even in the midst of this beauty is evidence of a destructive nature.
The Japanese Garden is a mix of stone, greenery, flowers, bamboo and water.
A beautiful willow overhanging a pond.
These plants, growing in the water, presented and interesting texture.
The Dawn Redwood was discovered in China in 1947 and introduced in Ireland in 1949. Powerscourt has a Dawn Redwood but I couldn’t find it. However, walking by the pond while searching, 3 women from California asked me to take their picture. They returned the favour.
The Pepperpot Tower was designed after Lord Powercourt’s dining table pepper pot. I considered climbing but it was the end of a 90 minute walk and was getting tired.
Fame & Victory. The winged statues were commissioned by the 7th Viscount in 1866. They were sculpted after the design of German sculpture Rauch. There are around 10 statues in the gardens.
The Avoca Cafe is located in the house. It is a cafeteria style but had amazing food. I got a quiche with a choice of 3 salads – carrot, quinoa and beet. The view of the Italian garden from the cafe was exceptional.
I had some time after lunch so headed down the road to the Powerscourt Distillery. It is home to Fercullen Irish Wiskey. It opened in 2019. They do offer tours but I was happy to sit and have a taste flight. There was an 8, 10 and 14 offering. I bought of bottle of the 14 year single malt
Fercullen is the old Irish name given to the mountains surrounding the Powerscourt Estate. On the outside is the workman’s bell. It has been in active use since 1723. It was used in the Old Church on the estate. After the 7th Viscount built a new church, the bell was relocated to the Mill House. It was used to call out the lunch hour to workers on the estate.
I’ll leave it here at Powerscourt. This afternoon we visit Glendalough Cathedral. Tonight is an evening of Irish song and dance. Lots to come.