- Location: Enniskerry, 20 km. south of Dublin City Center
- Attraction Type: County Estate
- Significance: Historic house, gardens, waterfall, picnic, event organization
- Best Time to visit: House and Garden remain open daily from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. However, the gardens close at dusk in the winter months. The Ballroom and the Garden Rooms remain open every Sunday between 9:30 am 1:30 pm, and on Mondays between May and September. The Waterfall remains open to access roughly between 10:30 am to 5:30 pm, though timings do change with seasons.
- Admission Charges: Adults 8.00 Euro and students 7.00 Euro for gardens. The charge for children between 5 and 16 is 5.00 Euros. It is free for children below 5. There is no additional charge for visiting the House and the Exhibition. The admission fee for the waterfall is 5.00Euros for adults, 4.50 Euros for students and 3.50 Euros for children below five.
- How to Reach: Dart to Bray & 185 to Enniskerry. You can also take the 44C Bust from City Center (Townsend Street) to Enniskerry Village.
- Nearest International Airport: Dublin International Airport
It is surprising how misfortune can often turn into just the opposite. When George IV visited Powerscourt House and Gardens, a special platform was created for him to facilitate a magnificent view of the Powerscourt Waterfall. The viscount Powerscourt, his host, also arranged for a dam across the waterfall to ensure a great view. The King came, waited, could not see the waterfall and finally left, presumably somewhat dejected at his misfortune. Not sure what his emotions would be had he known that once the waters came and the dam was opened, it summarily swept the platform away.
Misfortunes apart, Powerscourt House and Gardens are the most beautiful estate houses in picturesque Ireland with a history steeped in nobility. It is presently a great place to visit, and also plays host to a number of private and corporate events.
History of Powerscourt House and Gardens
Founded originally by the early Anglo-Norman settlers in Ireland, and was owned by many families largely because of its strategic location. The castle got its name after Le Poer (Power) who owned the castle at some point in time. Powerscourt castle passed to English hands in 1600. Richard Wingfield, Queen Elizabeth’s trusted military leader in many a war including those at France, Flanders, Ireland, and Portugal, finally arrived here as a proctor in Ireland and inherited this old building. That, for the castle, was the beginning of a prosperous period. After his death, restoration and rebuilding works were carried on by his son Sir Richard Wingfield with support from the German-born architect Richard Castle.
With the broadening of the Jazz horizon and ever-increasing number of sub-genres, musicians with more eclectic ethnicities and musical directions started to play a major role. Presently, hip-hop, soul and blues, Latin Jazz as well as Free Jazz share the stage with more traditional forms like swing, Dixieland and bebop.
The second big program in renovating the castle was started by the 6th Viscount Powerscourt and was more remarkably carried on by his successor, 7th Viscount Powerscourt. 6th Viscount started the second of the great gardening projects in the castle along with architect Daniel Robertson. The Italianate step gardens that are now a telling feature of the garden were originally started by him, and completed after his death by his son. Other renovations during this period included the creation of the Japanese gardens. By the end of the 19th century, the castle in its entirety was truly a sight to behold. However, it was strictly for private use and remained so even after it changed ownership.
The Slazenger family, new owners of the house, took more vehement steps in maintaining the unique charm of this building. The gardens became all the more beautiful, and everything seemed fine till fire struck in 1974. Although no life was taken, major sections of the castle including the bedroom and the garden rooms were terribly affected. For over two decades, it remained like that, with exposed terraces and burnt 16th-century stones, as little more than a painful memory of past years.
However, in 1996, a massive renovation project to rebuild the structure was put in place. Now, it stands as beautiful as ever and invites guests to its premises. What was once a restricted private space is now transformed into an attractive area, which can be visited by the public.
Things to See in Powerscourt House and Gardens
The garden rooms and the living rooms of the Powerscourt House are great attractions in themselves. At one point in time, it epitomized style and charm in the whole of Ireland, and that old glory can still be felt in the beautiful interiors of the castle. Of particular attraction are the gardens of the House. Started almost two and a half centuries back, the Gardens are an amalgamation of a varied number of styles with trees and flowers brought from different parts of the world. The Powerscourt Waterfall is the highest in Ireland and is visited by a large number of people. It serves as a great family picnic spot. You can also enjoy golf in the golfing part of the meadows.
Event Organizations in Powerscourt House and Gardens
The Ritz-Carlton, Powerscourt is the hospitality provider in the house at present. They beautifully blend the quaint style of the house along with modern facilities. The high and spacious ballroom and other rooms can be hired for public and corporate events including weddings, receptions, gala dinners, concerts, and product launches, among others. Every event is done under the close supervision of the Ritz-Carlton authorities, which ensures that it is almost always a success.
The restaurant operated by Avoca is the only restaurant in the area and has a seating capacity of 160 diners. No reservations are allowed and only self-service facilities are available. You can also indulge in some specialty shopping in the shops operated by Avoca. You can shop at the Interiors Gallery and Garden Pavilion as well.