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day trip from dublin

One of the best day trips from Dublin, Powerscourt House and Gardens has history, sculpture, Italian and Japanese gardens, exclusive food and clothes shopping and majestic views of County Wicklow.

I have worked in Trinity College, the Vatican, Rome City, Glasnevin Cemetery and the General Post Office in Dublin and I work for Rick Steves in Dublin and throughout Ireland.

Powerscourt House and Gardens

day trips from dublin The Powerscourt Estate is located in the picturesque village of Enniskerry, just 45 minute drive outside of the capital.

The name of the village comes from Irish or Gaelic 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 of Enniskerry means the rocky ford, the Glencullen river flows through town.


Best Castles in Ireland

ireland tours 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 the eastern province of 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 conquer 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.


Powerscourt

tour ireland The Powers sold the castle and grounds to the Wingfield 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

best ireland tours 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) in Dublin.

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.


Italian Gardens

tours in irelandIn 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 Belvedere among others.

He also established the Japanese Gardens and the Pet Cemeteries. This remodelling of the site took 20 years.


Slazenger Ownership

ireland tours from dublin 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.


Irish Filming Locations

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.

Powerscourt Waterfall

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.

Dublin Day Tour

This 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.

It provides a relaxed walk, majestic views, history, sculpture, gardens, lakes, clothes and artisan food shopping with a coffee and wine opportunity.


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    Ireland Tours

    If Powerscourt isn’t your thing, you can check out my Dublin Walking Tour, or my Dublin Pub Crawl or my day trips from Dublin to Glendalough Tour.

    My Tour reviews: Dublin Walking Tour

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