The Powerscourt Estate is located in Enniskerry County Wicklow, just over a 45 minute drive from the capital. The name originally comes from Irish Ath na Scerie; ath is a ford or place in a river where the water level can be crossed on foot and sceire is a Norse derivative word meaning rocky or jagged so the village here means the rocky ford. The Glencullen river flows through town.
The first structure in this area was a castle built by a Norman knight named La Poer. The Normans were Frenchmen from northern France and they had taken Leinster in 1169 following the invite of the king Dermot MacMurrough. The English King Henry II granted lands in Ireland to Norman Knights providing they could keep them. This tower house, as the stone castles were called, held strategic control of the landscape and the Glencullen river. It had 68 rooms and was three stories tall. Over time like almost all the Norman families, the La Poers went native and became the Powers.
The Powers sold the castle and grounds to the Powerscourt family in the 1600s. A descendant of that family was Richard Wingfield who was the first Viscount Powerscourt. He hired the best architect in Ireland, who was the German Richard Cassels, to completely remodel the house and build him a modern mansion. That is what you are can see today.
Richard Cassels had designed the printing house in Trinity College, assisted on the Irish Parliament at College Green, designed the Rotunda Hospital and Leinster House (now the Irish Parliament). The Powerscourt townhouse took him ten years, 1731 to 1741. It was regarded as the finest mansion in Ireland so when King George IV visited Ireland in 1821 he wanted to stay here and was duly entertained by Viscount Powerscourt.
In the 1840s, while Ireland was in the throws of the Potato Famine, the 8th Viscount Powerscourt, Mervyn Wingfield, went on the grand tour of Europe. He visited the palaces and piazzas of Italy and Rome in particular and wanted the same when he came back. So he commissioned English sculptors to make copies of what he had seen in the continent such as the Laocoon, Triton Fountain, Apollo Belvadere among others. He also established the Japanese Gardens and the Pet Cemeteries. This remodelling of the site took 20 years.
This site remained in Wingfield, or Powerscourt, hands until the 1960s when it was sold to the Slazenger family; the group that makes sports equipment. The interesting thing is Mervyn Wingfield, Viscount Powerscourt sold the property to Wendy Slazenger and they got married. So the man who owned the house got married to the woman he sold it to.
There was unfortunately a fire here in 1974. The house was renovated afterwards but it no longer functioned as a residence. It became a retail unit for shops and a visitor centre. In recent years Powerscourt House and Gardens have been the site for movies such as The Count of Monte Cristo.
Nearby Powerscourt Waterfall used to belong to the site but it is now separate. It is 121 metres or 450 feet high and is the highest waterfall in Ireland. The fight scene between King Arthur and Sir Lancelot from the movie Excalibur was filmed there.
A half day excursion to Powerscourt House and Gardens costs €400 in total for two people and includes private transport in a Mercedes S Class, collection at your hotel, entrance tickets, the tour itself and return to your hotel at the end of the tour. Each additional person costs €100.
If you would like to book this tour, please fill out the form below, it will email me your request and I will respond within 24 hours.
If you would like to book a tour with me, please fill out this form and it will email me your request.
My Tour reviews:
A Wonderful Experience
A wonderful experience. Well worth the price. Excellent knowledge shown by Dara and any questions quickly answered. Would recommend strongly.
5.0 Stars Steven Trickitt
Dara did a fantastic job. His sense of humor was a definite plus and kept us all engaged.
5.0 Stars Roger Koppy
Dara made the whole foot pounding experience very interesting with a touch of humour thrown in for good measure. Without him pointing out things on the way we would have missed a lot. My teenage daughter was not looking forward to the tour, but afterwards she commented on how much she got out of it and found it very funny.
5.0 Stars Mr Parlour
Dara was Outstanding
Dara was outstanding. The tour was sensational and met every expectation we had. Our two teenage boys where very impressed with the tour and thoroughly enjoyed Dara's commentary, humor and knowledge.
5.0 Stars Carolyn Wales
The tour was good and Dara did a fine job explaining everything.
5.0 Stars Tom Johnson
5.0 Stars Angela Delzotto
Dara was an excellent guide, knowledgeable and added a nice touch of humour to the tour. We really enjoyed ourselves on the tour.
5.0 Stars Kevin Hall
Tons of Sense of Humour
I love Dara's format of explaining with tons of sense of humour.
5.0 Stars Celina Tablante
Excellent tour. Our guide was wonderful and really cared about everything.
5.0 Stars Peggy Collias
Dara was excellent! Thank you for such a great tour!
5.0 Stars Ruth