Powerscourt House and Gardens, County Wicklow

Powerscourt House and Gardens, County Wicklow

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The Powerscourt Estate is is located in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, just 19km (11.4mi) south of Dublin. The gardens are comprised of formal gardens, sweeping terraces, rambling walks, ornamental lakes and over 200 varieties of trees and shrubs. The 18th Century Palladian House incorporates a variety of shops, terrace café and house exhibition.

Even the avenue leading to the Palladian house echoes the magnificence of the whole estate, being a mile long and lined by over 2,000 beech trees. In addition the 47 acres of gardens are remarkable for their grandeur of scale, at the same time combining great delicacy and refinement of detail.

The house was gutted by fire in 1974 but recently has been reborn as an exceptional tourist destination. The house is now home to the best of Irish design in gifts, clothes, and furniture in the Avoca Stores and the Interiors Gallery. You can also treat yourself to a dish from the Avoca Cookbook in the Terrace Cafe.

The gardens at Powerscourt were laid out in two main periods. When the house was rebuilt in the decade after 1731, the surrounding grounds were also remodeled. The design reflected the desire to create a garden which was part of the wider landscape. A century later the 6th Viscount Powerscourt instructed his architect, Daniel Robertson, to draw up new schemes for the gardens.

Robertson was one of the leading proponents of Italianate garden design and designed the terrace nearest the house. He is said to have suffered from gout and directed operations from a wheelbarrow, fortified by a bottle of sherry. When the sherry was finished, work ceased for the day!

The death of the 6th Viscount in 1844 meant that alterations to the gardens ceased until his son resumed the work in the late 1850s. Using a combination of Robertson's designs and the plans of the other landscape experts, the terraces were completed, enormous numbers and varieties of trees were planted and the ground adorned with an amazing collection of statuary, ironwork and other decorative items. Some decades later the Japanese Gardens and the Pepper Pot Tower were added.

Today the public continue to enjoy the gardens which first began to take shape over two and a half centuries ago. The charming walled garden, the striking terraces, fine statuary and varied trees are linked by carefully designed walks and set in the magnificent surroundings of the Wicklow mountains.

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