Powerscourt derives its
name from the Anglo-Norman
le Poer family who arrived in Ireland in the 12th century, the le
Poer's built a castle which at various times in succeeding centuries
was held by the Fitzgerald's, Earls of Kildare and the O'Tooles
After 1603 the powerscourt estate was granted
to an English soldier Sir Richard Wingfield, knighted in 1600 for
his successful military campaigns in Ireland, Flanders, France and
Portugal. The Wingfield family were to remain in control of Powerscourt
for around 350 years
Powerscourt Gardens and house are situated
19 Km (12 MI) south of
Dublin in the foothills of the Wicklow
Mountains. The house and gardens were remodeled for Richard
Wingfield (1697-1751) in the 1740's by the German born architect,
The Palladian mansion was built around the
existing castle, the central courtyard was converted into an entrance
hall, with a grand ballroom above.
This building was only two storey's a third
storey was added in 1787, with further alterations carried out in
the 19th century. The interior of Powerscourt is arguably one of
the finest in Ireland
Extending to over 45 acres the gardens are a blend
of sweeping terraces, statuary and ornamental lakes together with rambling
walks, walled gardens. The garden are reputed to have over over 200 species
of trees and shrubs.
About 5 km from the formal Gardens is Ireland's
Highest Waterfall 135 meters (443 Ft) into the Dargle Valley.
Near the Waterfall area
many species of birds are to be seen and heard such as the Chifchaff,
Chaffinch, Cuckoo, Raven and Willow Warbler. In the valley is the remnants
of an ancient forest with Oaks, Beech, Birch and Rowan.
George IV visited Powerscourt in 1821, as part
of the planned entertainment the waterfall was dammed, the intention being
to released it in a mighty torrent. The king spent longer over dinner
than planned and didn't get to see the spectacle. Which was fortuitous
for him, because when the water was released a bridge which had been specially
constructed as a viewing point was swept away by the raging water.
The house was partially destroyed by fire in 1974
losing its roof and much of the top floor, it lay until 1996 when a massive
restoration project began to restore the house to its former glory.
Tel: +353 (0)1 204 6000
Fax: +353 (0)1 204 6900
Gardens and House
Powerscourt is open to the public, the
magnificent ballroom can be hired for weddings and corporate events,
visit Powerscourt web
site for more information.
In the hall is an exhibition chronicling
the history of the house and estate. In the grounds is an eighteen
hole golf course.