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The Powerscourt Blog

Settling down in medieval Powerscourt in medieval Powerscourt Estate

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Feb 25, 2015 3:53:00 PM

This blog article was written by Michael Seery from the Enniskerry History Blog and is re-produced with his kind permission.

Folliott Wingfield married Lady Elizabeth Boyle after he turned 18 in 1660, and the couple evidently began to restore the burnt-out castle at Powerscourt. Soon after his ennoblement as 1st Viscount Powerscourt of the second creation in 1665, a survey of houses containing hearths or chimneys was undertaken so as to apply a tax on these houses—two shillings for every hearth owned. The list for County Wicklow was published in 1668, and fragments remain, thanks to the efforts of the Wicklow judge and historian Liam Price. This includes a list of a number of houses in the parish of Powerscourt with more than one hearth, and among these were a house owned by “Lord Portcoot”, which had an impressive 14 hearths. Thus by this time, Powerscourt was re-established as a substantial building.

Extract from the list of Hearth Money rolls, as catalogued by Liam Price (The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 1931, 1(2), 164-178.)

Extract from the list of Hearth Money rolls, as catalogued by Liam Price (The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 1931, 1(2), 164-178.)

There is very little detail about Folliott and Elizabeth. But it is safe to assume that at this time, a community began to develop again at Powerscourt and what would be the nearby village of Enniskerry. New tenants brought in from Wales began to populate the area. Parish records for the church at Powerscourt were recorded from 1662. Canon Stokes writes:

As was natural in a fairly new community marriages come first…1662…with names still familiar, Williams, Jones and Sumers. Burials began the following year with names which include Hicks and Burton. No baptismal records are available until 1677 when the first of the large family of Bethel and Bridget Burton was brought to the font in the church beside Powerscourt House.

Gift from Lady Ponsonby to Powerscourt Church, May 1704 (Photo: Judy Cameron)

Gift from Lady Ponsonby to Powerscourt Church, May 1704 (Photo: Judy Cameron)

As well as the reconstruction of the castle, other clues remain to show a close association between the new Lord’s family and the estate at Powerscourt. Folliott’s mother, Bess Wingfield had been widowed just five years after her marriage to Richard. The following year, she remarried again but her second husband, Edward Trevor of Rosstrevor, died soon after marriage. Third-time lucky, she achieved a longer marriage with Sir John Ponsonby. They lived at Bessborough, Kilkenny, which Sir John renamed in her honour. However, she must have retained close ties with Powerscourt through her son, or perhaps moved back there after Ponsonby’s death in 1678. In 1704, she presented a silver flagon for wine to the church at Powerscourt.

The final shred of evidence of a close tie between Folliott and his Enniskerry estate is that when he died, he left money for a school at Powerscourt. A letter from George Monck to John Molesworth in February 1718 included a note to say “Lord Porstcoot (sic) dead. Mr. Roberts his executor. There’s another will set up. It leaves 1,000 l to found a school at Poorscourt.” Folliott had thus left a substantial sum to found a school, and this was evidently built soon after his death. Vestry minutes from the church include a mention of payment to the schoolmaster John Rowden in 1732.

The Boyle Monument (Photo: St Patrick's Cathedral http://www.stpatrickscathedral.ie/)

The Boyle Monument (Photo: St Patrick’s Cathedral http://www.stpatrickscathedral.ie/)

Folliott and Elizabeth enjoyed a long marriage of almost 50 years. She died in October 1709 and was buried in her grandfather’s tomb (The Boyle Monument) in St Patrick’s Cathedral. Folliott died in February 1717 and, perhaps surprisingly, was not buried at Powerscourt, but along with his wife in St Patrick’s Cathedral. The couple had no children, so the title Viscount Powerscourt became extinct for the second time. The estate passed to Folliott’s cousin, Edward Wingfield, a son of Lewis Wingfield and Sydney Gore. Edward married his cousin, Eleanor Gore, and their first-born son, Richard, would bring Powerscourt into the modern era.

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate

Things just as they were...A history of Powerscourt Estate

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Feb 21, 2015 7:00:00 PM

3. Things just as they were

This blog article was written by Michael Seery from the Enniskerry History Blog and is re-produced with his kind permission.

When Folliott Wingfield came of age in 1660, he married Lady Elizabeth Boyle. She was the eldest daughter of Roger Boyle, Lord Broghill, later Earl of Orrery. He had been appointed Folliott’s Guardian after the death of his father. The marriage was a powerful match. Broghill was the third son of Richard Boyle—the “Great Earl of Cork” and one of the “upper tier” of the Irish ascendancy—and he was both a favourite of Cromwell and subsequently a prominent player in securing the restoration of Charles II. Charles rewarded him by elevating him in 1660 to Earl of Orrery. He was thus a useful ally for Folliott.

A few remaining precious documents exist in the Powerscourt Papers from the seventeenth century. One of these, which probably only exists now as a photocopy, is a letters patent from Charles II confirming the Wicklow lands that had belonged to “Sir Edward Wingfield Knight, grandfather to our subjecte Folliott Wingfield, of Powerscourte in the County of Wicklow.” As this is dated 1663, it indicates that Folliott had little trouble in re-establishing the Wingfield’s base at Powerscourt after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.

Photocopy of letters patent confirming estates in county Wicklow to Folliott Wingfield (from National Library)

Photocopy of letters patent confirming estates in county Wicklow to Folliott Wingfield, July 1663 (from National Library of Ireland)

Further evidence in the handful of seventeenth century documents available is the conveyance of lands elsewhere in Wicklow by Sir Charles Meredith to Folliott in 1680. These lands were previously in the hands of Sir Edward Wingfield, Folliott’s grandfather, before the Cromwellian invasion, and this conveyance, ordered by King Charles II, returns the lands to Folliott. They had been granted to Sir Charles Meredith, one of Cromwell’s officers, as payment for services.

It’s clear then that Folliott reclaimed his estate in its entirety following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. Things moved quickly for him—as mentioned, he had married Elizabeth Boyle in that year and had the support of the Earl of Orrery, who was a member of the Cork dynasty. Francis Boyle, another son of the Earl of Cork was elevated in 1660 to Viscount Shannon, and it was likely that Folliott’s association with Orrery helped him too secure an elevation in 1665, when he became the first and only Viscount Powerscourt of the second creation. Much of the reason for this elevation was stated to be in recognition of the achievements of Folliott’s ancestor, Sir Richard, but Ohlmeyer describes these elevations as the influence of established peers (in this case the Cork lineage) to form “cadet lines” to secure future generations.

The “Restoration” was in many ways aiming to restore what had been before Cromwell’s activities and the resulting interregnum (1649-1660). The return of the lands to the Wingfields of Powerscourt and the elevation of Folliott to Viscount are symbols of the the return to the “old order” prior to 1649. The Monarchy was back, and things were going to be just as they were before…

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate

The Treasure Chest of Irish Tales

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Feb 17, 2015 10:21:59 AM

Enjoy a great family day out in the beautiful surrounds of Powerscourt House and Gardens on March 15th from 12.30-2.30pm. Imaginosity, Dublin Children's Museum has teamed up with Powerscourt to present a fun drama and story-telling workshop to celebrate Irish culture. Come along and discover what the Imaginosity storytellers pull out of their treasure chest this St Patrick’s Weekend!

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Exploring the exciting adventures of Finn Mac Cool and the Giant’s Causeway, The Salmon of Knowledge and the legendary hero Cuchulainn, children will be building a large Causeway, cooking a magical salmon and play the part of a brave hero in famous Irish legends. YOUR family can take part in this fun drama workshop which will truly bring the past to life!

This is an enjoyable introduction to Irish myths and legends for young children. The performance will include a range of props, musical instruments, storytelling and plenty of fun audience participation for the whole family!

Included in the ticket price is entry to the beautiful Powerscourt Gardens. With over 47 acres to explore, children will love playing and walking along the winding pathways and rambling walks of Powerscourt. Spend time as a family at Powerscourt this bank holiday weekend; from the Pet’s Cemetery to the Pepper Pot Tower, there is so much to see and explore! Advance booking is essential; you can book online through the Powerscourt Website.

 

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt House

In the interregnum...A history of Powerscourt Estate

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Feb 15, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Sir Richard Wingfield came to own the lands at Powerscourt forever for his soldiering efforts in 1618, but the story would have several twists yet. After Richard’s death, Sir Edward inherited the estate in 1635, and he in turn was succeeded by his son Sir Richard Wingfield, MP for Boyle, in 1638. This Richard married Elizabeth (Bess), daughter of Henry 1st Lord Folliott.

This was the time of two significant events in Irish history: the 1641 Irish Rebellion and the Confederate Wars in England between Charles I and Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army. In the Irish Rebellion, the O’Tooles rose up against Sir Richard Wingfield but were defeated and outlawed. Richard was further involved in fighting the resistance at this time. One of the 1641 depositions describes how “Captain Richard Wingfield suddanely drew this deponent & the rest of the Company on his Majestyes service to Dublin from Powerscourte.” Sir Richard died after joining the army of the Duke of Ormond, leaving his three year old son, Folliott, named after his maternal grandfather. (Bess would remarry twice; her third husband was Sir John Ponsonby.)

One of several of the 1641 depositions that mention Powerscourt (taken from 1641.tcd.ie) The name Captain Richard Wingfield can just about be seen [(c) TCD]

Having won the English Civil War 1642 – 1649, Cromwell arrived in Ireland to crush the Irish uprising, which saw Irish Confederates and Royalists join together in the face of the Puritan forces. Cromwell quickly and ruthlessly moved through the country, repossessing the land taken back over the previous decade.

At some stage during this time, Powerscourt Castle was burned out to prevent it being captured and used by Cromwell’s men. The Attorney General for Ireland wrote that:

Information being given that five companies of the Irish enemies’ foot were come to Powers Court, about eight miles from here, on the Wicklow side, a party was sent from this place (Dublin) under the command of Sir Theophilus Jones, to beat them out, or fight them, but before our party got thither they demolished all the buildings, they pulled down the very walls, and fled away into the woods. We cannot keep a garrison there, because there is no manner of shelter for our men there.

Cromwell’s conquest was largely complete in 1652, and the Act for the Settlement of Ireland provided a means for the confiscation and redistribution of land to Cromwellian soldiers as a means of paying them for their service. This was facilitated by the Down Survey, which involved the mapping of the country between 1655 and 1656. The man responsible for the survey was Sir William Petty, and he used soldiers to complete the surveying tasks. Parish maps, drawn by Petty himself were destroyed in a fire in 1711 and copies of these were destroyed in a fire in 1922, including that for Powerscourt. A larger scale map of the area is still extant, shown below. This illustrates the north of county Wicklow, from Bray on the east coast to Glencree in the west, where Lough Bray is annotated.

Down Survey Map of the half-barony of Rathdown in the County of Wicklow (from the Down Survey website: downsurvey.tcd.ie)

Down Survey Map of the half-barony of Rathdown in the County of Wicklow (from the Down Survey website: downsurvey.tcd.ie)

Petty’s work was completed and published by 1657, but within three years the monarchy had been restored with the coronation of Charles II. Folliott Wingfield, who was born in 1642, managed to avoid any immediate association with the conflict, and by the time of the Restoration in 1660, he was eighteen, and found himself in control of the lands at Powerscourt. This puts Powerscourt in the rather unusual situation of not seeing a significant change in land ownership before and after the Restoration. Land ownership mapped before (1641) and after (1670) shows that the land remained with Powerscourt during one of the most tumultuous periods of Irish history.

Maps showing townlands owned by Powerscourt in north Wicklow in 1641 (left) and 1670 (right) superimposed on a modern map (GIS data from downsurvey.tcd.ie)

Maps showing townlands owned by Powerscourt in north Wicklow in 1641 (left) and 1670 (right) superimposed on a modern map (GIS data from downsurvey.tcd.ie)

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate

An update from Powerscourt Gardens

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Feb 11, 2015 4:49:00 PM

Today was another misty day at Powerscourt and there is a still a February chill to the air! It was great to have another dry day, in fact, it has hardly rained here at the estate for nearly 3 weeks! This afternoon I enjoyed a walk through the gardens with Head Gardener Michael Byrne as we made plans for creating a new tree trail through Powerscourt Gardens. The trail will soon launch - keep posted for further details shortly on our blog! 

This week there is a real sense that spring is coming at last. While there is not much colour at this time of year, it's a fantastic time to visit and enjoy the perennials at Powerscourt and particularly our fine tree collection. The greenery of the trees and the many shrubs that adorn the gardens really stand out in winter time. The statuary is also much more noticeable and truly commands the landscape around it.

Unfortunately as we started our walk we came across a tree that had recently come down in the gardens, and caused some damage to other trees around it. We have hundreds of trees in the gardens and know that we will occasionally lose one. Still it's always sad to see! There are so many fine trees at Powerscourt which you can get to know better by visiting the gardens and walking our new trail when it's ready. Head Gardener Michael will be giving a guided walk of the trees in Powerscourt Gardens on the 3rd of March at 11am to celebrate National Tree Week. You can book tickets to the event here.

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As we walked along the long walk in Powerscourt Gardens today, I caught the most amazing scent! Michael explained that it came from a tree he planted about 5 years ago - Daphne Bholua 'Jacqueline Postill'. It has a sweet perfume and its bright pink flowers are a welcome sight at this time of year.

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Image Credit

The daffodils are slowly starting to emerge, with just a few up at the moment. In a few weeks time, we will have a fantastic show of colour. Here is a reminder from previous springs at Powerscourt!

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There were some snowdrops up in the woodlands of Tower Valley; they are a particular favourite of mine! To me, the snowdrop heralds the start of spring and is a sign of everything good a new year brings with it.

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There is lots to look forward to in the gardens over the coming months!

The Japanese Garden will spring to life in March and April with Magnolia flowers, Azaleas and Cherry and Apple Blossom trees. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit the Japanese Garden. The foliage and flowers change week on week and there is always something new to discover. Here are some of our beautiful cherry blossoms from years gone past:

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The Camellias in the Walled Garden have to be of the most stunning sights in winter and spring! With such an abudance of petals, so intricately formed, this flower has a sense of decadence about it!

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There will be lots more plants and flowers to discover over the coming weeks at Powerscourt! Keep posted on our blog for Head Gardener Michael's regular updates from the gardens.

Learn more about the trees in Powerscourt Gardens. We hope to welcome you here soon!

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Events, Tree Week

The scarf which your majesty wears

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Feb 6, 2015 9:59:56 AM

The scarf which your majesty wears...

This blog article was written by Michael Seery from the Enniskerry History Blog and is re-produced with his kind permission.

The story of the Wingfields at Powerscourt begins with a grant of lands in north Wicklow to Sir Richard Wingfield (1550 – 1634) by Queen Elizabeth I in 1603. Richard was an army officer and adventurer from Sussex who arrived in Ireland during the Tudor conquest, soon after Elizabeth took the throne. He was the nephew of Sir William Fitzwilliam who probably arranged to have him come to Ireland. As well as soldiering on the continent, Richard was involved in the Nine Years’ War in Armagh fighting against the Earl of Tyrone’s Irish forces in 1594. After an injury, he returned to England, where family legend records that Queen Elizabeth, wishing to reward her “faithful and beloved soldier” for his soldiering, asked Sir Richard what he would like as a reward. He replied that “the scarf which Your Majesty wears will be sufficient reward for me.” The portrait of Richard shows him wearing the scarf, but of course, he would soon get a lot more.

Queen Elizabeth, ca 1596, by  by Nicholas Hilliard

Queen Elizabeth, ca 1596, by by Nicholas Hilliard

Sir Richard returned to Ireland in 1600, when he was appointed Knight Marshal of the military forces in Ireland. This led to his return to Ulster in that year, and to Kinsale the following year where he was involved in the defeat of the Irish forces at the Battle of Kinsale. Along with Lord Mountjoy, he was an English signatory on the Articles of Surrender of the Spanish forces at Kinsale.

After the defeat at Kinsale, the Tudor conquest progressed and the plantations of Ulster and elsewhere began. Richard applied for a grant of the territory known as Fercullen, a parcel of land about 30 square miles south of Dublin. It was of strategic importance as it formed a natural barrier between the Wicklow mountains and Dublin. For a period in the sixteenth century, Brian O’Toole was instated by Henry VIII in 1546 to hold the lands at Powerscourt in his “Surrender and Re-grant” policy of settlement. He was succeed by Phelim in 1549. However, the next 50 years saw a surge in rebellious activities, and Garrett O’Toole, was involved in an uprising in 1581, and having been captured at Glencree was beheaded. When Phelim finally died in 1603, an Inquisition at Kilmainham Gaol on 1st October 1603 found that his grandson Tirlagh had by the activities of his father forfeited the terms of their agreement, and hence no longer had the possession of Powerscourt.

Queen Elizabeth died later that year. Richard continued to display military prowess, including the defeat of the O’Doghertys at Derry in an Ulster rebellion against plantation in May 1608. The following year, James I confirmed the monarchy’s support of Wingfield by granting him the lands at Fercullen forever. The original grant stated:

“the manor of Powerscourt, containing one ruinous castle… and all lands in the whole countrie of Fercullen conteininge in itself 5 miles in leinth and 4 in bredth, for the most part mountaine and stonie… to hold for 21 years at a rent of £6 Ierishe”.

The area (as well as the manor) became known as Powerscourt, and the parish that formed there took this name. The name Powerscourt probably derives from an earlier ownership of the Le Poer family, with Le Poer’s Court becoming Powerscourt. The “court” suggests there was a castle on the site, and as the Wingfield grant indicates, there was a ruined castle in 1609.

Sir Richard Wingfield, perhaps by Cornelius Janssen

Sir Richard Wingfield, perhaps by Cornelius Janssen

By now Richard was a senior figure in the Irish administration, and heavily involved in the plantation of Ulster. He was granted 2,000 acres in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone in 1610 (the Benburb Estate) and in 1613, he was granted lands at Wexford, along the border with Wicklow, named the Manor of Wingfield, where he was also involved in administering plantations. The Tyrone and Wexford estates remained in the family until the Land Acts of the 1880s.

In 1618, aged about 68, Richard was elevated to the Peerage of Ireland as Viscount Powerscourt. This cost him a considerable fee (2,000 pounds) which surprised some given that he did not have a direct heir, and thus the title would become extinct on his death. Perhaps it was the final achievement for the man who had everything.

After his death in 1635, the title expired as Richard and his wife, Frances Cromwell, had no children of their own. The lands and wealth he had accumulated over his lifetime passed to his cousin, Sir Edward Wingfield of Carnew, who married Anne Cromwell, a daughter of Sir Richard’s wife from her first marriage.

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Wicklow Days Out: Things to See and Do in Wicklow

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jan 28, 2015 11:53:00 AM

The Garden County of Wicklow has so many beautiful attractions for you to experience and discover! Here are some of our favourite things to see and do in Wicklow. Enjoy the adventure!

Avondale House is a beautiful period house set in the rolling hills of Rathdrum. It has an important place in history as it is the birthplace and home of Charles Stewart Parnell, one of the greatest political leaders in Irish history. Pack your walking boots and enjoy a stroll through its forest park of over 500 acres with tree trails and walks ranging in duration from one to five hours. Find out more.

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Glendalough draws thousands of visitors each year to admire its stunning scenery, intresting history and archaeology and to get up close to the native Irish wildlife. Glendalough is home to one of the most important Christian monastic settlements in Ireland, founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. Most of the buildings on site that have survived through time including attacks by the vikings date from the 10th to the 12th centuries. Glendalough is located in a beautiful valley where you can enjoy walking routes above its majestic lakes. Find out more.

Powerscourt House & Gardens is another top tourism spot to visit in the garden county! Set in the wild Wicklow countrywide in Ireland, overlooking the Sugarloaf Mountain, Powerscourt enjoys a breath-taking panorama. The Gardens stretch over 47 acres and offer visitors a sublime blend of formal gardens, sweeping terraces, statues and ornamental lakes, secret hollows and rambling walks. Find out more.

 

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National Aquarium Sealife Centre Bray is a great attraction to bring the kids to in Wicklow. This aquatic experience is home to over 1,000 creatures from the sea including seahorses, stingrays, piranha, sharks and octopus! Much of the sealife in Bray are on the endangered list, have been rescued and cannot be released into the wild or have been born and bred as part of the Sealife conservation projects. It's a great way for your kids to get up close to nature! Find out more.

Wicklow's Historic Goal: Wicklow Gaol tells the story of its prisoners through an interactive tour led by its passionate guides. Wander through cells and dungeons and watch as actors reconstruct the past and bring to life its cruel and tragic history, interwoven with the history of Wicklow and Ireland. Find out more.

There are so many other wonderful attractions to visit in Wicklow. We will bring you more blog posts during the year with ideas for things to see and do in Wicklow!

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Topics: Powerscourt Gardens, Wicklow

Bernard Gibbons Honoured at 2015 Golfer’s Guide to Ireland Awards Ceremony

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jan 28, 2015 10:17:56 AM

Bernard Gibbons Honoured at Golfer’s Guide to Ireland Awards Ceremony

Powerscourt Golf Club Manager Bernard Gibbons was recognised in the golf industry this week at the Golfers Guide to Ireland Awards Night 2015 which took place on Monday evening at the Druid’s Glen Resort in Wicklow. Bernard was presented with a plaque to acknowledge his outstanding service in the golf industry by Golfer’s Guide editor Paddy McCarthy ahead of Bernard’s upcoming retirement from Powerscourt Golf Club. Everyone at the event enjoyed speeches about Bernard’s golfing career over the past 50 years.

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Paddy Mc Carthy from The Golfer's Guide to Ireland presents Bernard Gibbons (Manager, Powerscourt Golf Club) with a plaque to acknowledge his outstanding service to the golf industry.

With nearly 50 years’ experience in the golf industry, Bernard has enjoyed a wide and varied career since beginning as an apprentice to the legendary John Jacobs at age 15 at the driving range in Leopardstown Race Course. His numerous roles have included Golf Professional, RTÉ golf pundit and commentator, Chairman of the Golf Course Owners Association and board member of the Special Olympics Committee. He has been at the helm of Powerscourt for the past 17 years since the golf club opened in 1997.

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Pictured at the Golfer's Guide to Ireland 2015 Awards are L-R Eamonn D’Arcy (Former Ryder Cup Player), Matt Sands (General Manager, Cork Golf Club) Mary Mitchell-O’Connor (TD, Fine Gael) andBernard Gibbons (General Manager, Powerscourt Golf Club)

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Golf Club

Winter's Day Photography Walk at Powerscourt

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jan 16, 2015 11:31:40 AM

Join award-winning Landscape and Nature photographer Fran Byrne for a guided winter photography walk on Sunday 8th February at 10am in the beautiful Powerscourt Gardens in Enniskerry, County Wicklow. It is a great opportunity to get out and about with your camera, meet new people, discuss all things photography and enjoy the grounds at Powerscourt.

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Image Credit: Brian Morrison

Winter is one of the best times to enjoy a leisurely stroll through the gardens and capture the winter light, striking statues, gates and beautiful Wicklow countryside. The walk is open to all levels of photographers. It is the first photo walk in the gardens this year and others will follow in spring, summer and autumn so photographers can capture the beauty of Powerscourt, season after season.

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Image Credit: Brian Morrison

Bring along your camera and a sense of adventure! The walk is 3 hours long and costs €10, including entry to Powerscourt Gardens so it’s great value. Placed are limited and advance booking through www.powerscourt.com/events is essential.

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens

Conifers at Powerscourt Estate

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jan 16, 2015 11:24:33 AM

 

From the 200 year old beech trees along the avenue at Powerscourt, to the Monkey Puzzle trees that were among the first of their kind to be planted in Ireland, the trees at Powerscourt are special. Learn more about conifers at Powerscourt in our article and drop by the gardens soon to see them in person!

Conifers

Conifers have narrow leaves, which can be needle-like or scaly. Their seeds usually develop inside protective woody cones and most trees are evergreen.

Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis)

Native to western North America, Sitka spruce was introduced into Ireland in the 1830’s. Fast growing and well suited for our climate, today it is our most versatile and commonly planted forest tree. The wood from Sitka spruce is known as ‘white deal’ and is widely used as a building and fencing material.

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Tree trivia

The first successful powered airplane, the Wright brothers’ Flyer, was built using Sitka spruce.

Larch (Larix decidua)

Larch is the only deciduous conifer in Ireland, and was brought here about 350 years ago. Its soft, bright green needles turn an attractive yellow before they fall in the late autumn, leaving the tree bare for winter.

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Tree trivia

The rot-resistant, reddish-brown heartwood of larch is flexible, durable and attractive, making it a popular choice for yacht building.  

Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)

This tall native conifer was known as one of the ‘nobles of the wood’ in medieval Irish culture, and was highly prized for its resin. To this day it is still valued for its many commercial applications. The pale red wood, known as ‘red deal’, is light and strong and ideal for making doors, floors, decking and paper.

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Tree trivia

The needles can be boiled in water to produce an aromatic tea which is helpful in the treatment of bronchial conditions.

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Topics: Powerscourt River Walk, Powerscourt Gardens, Wicklow

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