Last updated on February 6, 2024
Wicklow is known as the garden of Ireland. Nowhere else in Ireland are there more beautiful manor houses with magnificent gardens and parks. The mighty Powerscourt Estate is certainly the very best example of this…
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What do Excalibur, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Vikings and The Tudors have in common?
These films were all shot, at least in part, on the Powerscourt Estate, along with many more.
The magnificent manor house and gardens, parkland and waterfall provide plenty of inspirational backdrops for film makers.
The numerous tourists who visit Powerscourt every year are just as inspired. And quite rightly so, as this top attraction on the outskirts of Dublin is probably one of the largest and most magnificent castle-like manor houses with one of the largest and most magnificent gardens (or parks) on the island of Ireland, which is blessed with a wealth of castles and gardens.
History of Powerscourt Estate
An Anglo-Norman castle stood here in the 13th century. Not a representative castle, but a castle with soldiers. The Norman knight Le Poer was lord of the castle. In the 17th century, the O’Tooles took possession of the castle – by force, of course. However, the old clan chief Phelim O’Toole was murdered in 1603 by a rival clan.
Sir Richard Wingfield, Marshal of Ireland, was granted the estate by the English Crown in 1603. The Wingfield family held the estate for over 350 years.
Since 1961, the estate has been owned by the Slazenger family, an English family with a large business.
Today, the estate is open to visitors. However, the house itself cannot be visited, but the gardens, a café and various shops are open to the public.
There is also a Powerscourt Golf Club, a hotel and a distillery around the estate. See: https://powerscourt.com/.
Gardens and parks of Powerscourt
47 acres of parkland and gardens await you at Powerscourt Estate. This equates to around 20 hectares of land. Some of the gardens are very old and date back to 1731.
There is an Italian Garden, a Walled Garden, the large Triton Lake, a smaller Dolphin Pond, the Japanese Garden and the Tower Valley.
All the gardens are absolutely beautiful and I can only recommend to spend some time wandering around.
I personally like the Japanese Garden very much, and the wonderful old trees in the outer areas of the park are also marvellous.
The waterfall is about 6 kilometres from Powerscourt House. You drive about 10 minutes from one to the other. The waterfall used to be on the estate, which gives you a sense of the size of the estate at the time.
The short drive is worth it, as the waterfall is beautifully situated in a wooded area. The small River Dargle plunges 121 metres into the depths here. This makes Powerscourt Waterfall officially the highest waterfall in Ireland – according to the advertisers of Powerscourt. However, there is the Hungry Hill Waterfall on the west coast of Ireland, on the Beara peninsula, which is quite a bit higher. But whether it is the highest or second highest waterfall, it is simply beautiful.
The volume of water varies greatly. In the winter months, quite a lot of water rushes down the steep rocks here. The rocks divide and atomise the water and fine water mist envelops the scenery in a mystical mist.
In the summer months, the amount of water can drop sharply if there is little rain for weeks on end, which, contrary to popular belief, can happen in Ireland!
The makers of the TV series “Vikings” could not escape the magic of the scenery either. When Ragnar sees Princess Aslaug bathing at the waterfall, he is smitten.
There is also a lovely meadow for picnics, barbecue facilities and a kiosk where you can buy something. See: https://powerscourt.com/our-waterfall/.
I know the Powerscourt Estate very well myself, as we have been here and spent a lot of time here.
We live on the southern edge of the Wicklow Mountains (second home), where we run our motorbike rental business (https://www.easycruiser.tours) and our guest rooms (https://www.the-view-accommodtion.ie) in the summer. We are originally from Germany.
My first impression of Powerscourt was: “Yes ok, splendid manor house, fountain, rose garden, all right”. I’ve seen a lot of them.
But after several hours in the surrounding gardens and the extensive park with its old trees, Japanese garden and castle tower, I was blown away. Such a beautiful site! Plus the great views of the mountainous surroundings and the waterfall – really beautiful.
However, the Estate is one of the most important sights in the Dublin area and can be very busy, especially in summer and at weekends. I recommend visiting in the low season if possible. If you are here in the summer, try to visit Powerscourt during the week and perhaps earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon. Choose a day with good weather and take your time to “walk” the extensive grounds at your leisure.
Have fun at Powerscort!