Discover Powerscourt Gardens in the foothills of the Wicklow mountains
Powerscourt Gardens in the Wicklow Mountains foothills is one of Europe's most admired and loved formal gardens. Powerscourt House is one of the top ten historic houses to visit worldwide.
The 18th-century house and its 47-acre estate attract half a million visitors per year. The beautifully designed extensive formal gardens blend into the stunning Wicklow landscapes.
Today the house is home to the best of Irish design in gifts, clothes, and furniture. Complete with an attractive Avoca Terrace Café serving freshly cooked food. Visit Powerscourt on a driver-guided tour from Dublin or stay overnight at the renowned Powerscourt hotel.
Gardens in the Mountains
A brief history of Powerscourt House and Gardens
The middle ages
The original 13th-century castle on the estate belonged to an Anglo-Norman baron La Poer, which eventually became Power. The castle's commanding military position saw it feuded over by the O'Brien, O'Neill and O'Toole clans. Still, it ultimately fell into the hands of the Powerscourt family.
In the 18th century, the 1st Viscount Powerscourt commissioned architect Richard Cassels to remodel the medieval castle into a Palladian-style mansion. King George IV stayed as an honoured guest here in 1821.
The creation of the gardens
During the 19th century, the 7th Viscount created a 47-acre garden landscape taking inspiration from The Palace of Versailles in France, Schönbrunn Palace in Austria and Schwetzingen Castle in Germany. He also had formal Italian and Japanese-style gardens designed, complete with cascades, ponds and caves. In the surrounding valley, he established a deer park. The centre-piece is the 397ft-high (121 metres) Powerscourt Waterfall, the highest in Ireland. All surrounded by beech and pine trees.
The Slazenger family
Since the 1960s, the Slazenger family have owned the estate of sporting goods fame. With spectacular views over County Wicklow, Powerscourt House and Gardens are one of Ireland's top attractions.
The gardens were developed over two periods, the first as the house was being built, the second in the 1840s. Elements of the first design still feature, but much of what we see today was the work of the architect, Daniel Robertson, and has continued to evolve in the intervening 180 years.
Sweeping from the house are pebbled steps leading to a pool with its 100ft fountain set within grottoes and statues. Three garden styles are featured Italian, American, and Japanese.
A thread of beautifully designed walled gardens, levels, sculptures, and trees offset against the Wicklow Mountains' magnificent backdrop throughout runs. The terraces which link the house to the lake are an engineering feat that took 100 labourers around 12 years to complete.
Highlights near Powerscourt
The village of Enniskerry is a short distance away. It enchants visitors with its three-sided 'square' flanked by antique, craft, and fashion shops.
The sand and shingle beach at Bray, a few miles on, is popular. A colourful terrace of houses includes the family home of James Joyce, which features in his novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
Dargle Glen Gardens
Close by Powerscourt are the Dargle Glen Gardens, an extravaganza of hillside trees, shrubs, and other exotic plants many imported from the Far East. On the road to Greystones, a fashionable resort in the 19th and 20th centuries now fading elegantly is Kilruddery House.
Built-in 1820, it is home to the Earls of Meath and has extensive gardens that have been under cultivation for over 300 years. Classical statues, terracing, and hedge-lined walks are all against the wonderfully scenic Little Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Touring and accommodation
Powerscourt Gardens feature in our Highlights of Ireland Tour. However, we can always customise our trips to reflect any specific interests or requirements you may have. The region is a wonderful hill-walking country; terrain consists of heath, bog-land and forests. Wildlife includes feral goats, red squirrels, pine martens and the lightning-fast peregrine falcon.
Stay at Powerscourt Hotel Resort and Spa; this superb hotel has world-class facilities and one of the most famous gardens in Europe – with the backdrop of the Wicklow Mountains. Powerscourt can also be a base for your Private Tours of Ireland's eastern region. Day trips can be Waterford and the Rock of Cashel (full day). However, touring the Wicklow Hills and Kilkenny is a shorter drive and will enable you to return and use the Spa. The Irish National Stud and Gardens is another day trip option from Powerscourt Hotel.
180 Years in the Making
Wicklow Mountain Backdrop
- Private Tours Available
- 47 Acre Estate
- Day Tour from Dublin
- Stay at Powerscourt Hotel and Spa
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