The Powerscourt Blog

Wicklow Welcomes You!

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jul 22, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Wicklow is a county with so much to offer our visitors. From it rugged coastline to its wonderful gardens and rich heritage and cultural – there truly is something for everyone. After a visit to Powerscourt, why not consider some of the other gems on our doorstep!

Natural Beauty

Wicklow’s landscape varies from the lush green fields to the deep purple and amber hues of its mountains. The scenic drive from Glendalough to Glencree or from Roundwood to Glencree via Lough Tay showcases Ireland’s natural and stunning beauty. It is home to some of Ireland’s indigenous inhabitants like the majestic Red Deer, Wild Goats, and Otters to name a few. Overlooking the beautiful lake of Lough Tay and glancing down into the valleys of Glenmacnass and Glendalough, it’s well worth the drive along its narrow and meandering roads.



Every corner of County Wicklow is steeped in History from the early Christian settlement of Glendalough to the magnificent historic houses and stately homes of Killruddery, Avondale and Russborough. Wicklow even has its own hillfort in Rathgall near Shillelagh in South Wicklow.


Glendalough has long been an area renowned for its natural beauty and history and it is one of the most visited places in Ireland. The Glendalough Valley is located in the Wicklow Mountains National Park and has many attractions to entice, entertain and enthral visitors, from its world famous Monastic Site with Round Tower (pictured to the right) to its scenic lakes and valleys, as well as a selection of walks and trails in the area including The Wicklow Way. Find out more:


Killruddery House

Killruddery House is one of the most successful EIizabethan-Revival mansions in Ireland. In the 1820’s the 10th Earl engaged the fashionable architects of the day – Richard Morrison and his son William – to remodel Killruddery. In the 1950’s the house was greatly reduced to its present day proportions, but much of the Morrison’s design and architecture still remain. Find out more:


Russborough was built in 1741 by Joseph Leeson, the son of a wealthy brewer in Dublin. The architect was Richard Castle (Cassells), a great promoter of the Palladian style of architecture in 18th century Ireland. Find out more:


Avondale House

Avondale House, the birthplace and home of Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1891) one of the greatest political leaders of Irish history. Set in a magnificent forest park of over 500 acres with tree trails and walks. Find out more: 


Rathgall was a site of quite exceptional importance in the centuries spanning the birth of Christ, an importance that was clearly pan-European. The variety of structural information that the excavation yielded is unprecedented in the Bronze Age and the extraordinary concentration of artifactual evidence from the site has not been matched elsewhere in the country. Find out more:


Lakelands & Waterways


Blessington is the largest town in West Wicklow. The gateway to the National Park, an outdoor paradise of woods, mountains, rivers and lakes. Why not try your hand at fishing or be a little more adventurous and windsurf. Find out more:

Deep Blue Sea Kayaking

Deep Blue Sea Kayaking in Bray in North Wicklow. Not for the faint hearted! Find out more:



Glendalough House 

Glendalough House Equestrian offers 28km of trekking and trail riding through a varying array of landscapes and over an assortment of terrains. Treks are planned to cater to the rider’s requirement and ability. Trails are maintained with nature at the fore and hacking through the Glendalough House grounds is designed to leave riders feeling refreshed having escaped the stress of modern daily life. Find out more:

Clissmann Holidays

This is a holiday with a difference! Clissmann Horse Drawn Caravans offers you a holiday with a horse and a covered wagon, where up to 4 people can sleep and cook. Find out more: 


Family Activities 

For families now looking for staycations Wicklow has an abundance of activities for all ages.

Sealife Centre 

The National Sea Life Centre Bray, takes you on a journey of the deep…without getting wet! Over 30+ spectacular displays including: Rivers of the World, Nemo's Kingdom and our breathtaking Tropical Shark Lagoon. Find out more:


Wicklow's Historic Jail

Introduces the early 18th century prison life and invites to meet live actors who re- enact key characters in the history of the


So take some time to explore and discover all that Wicklow has to offer! For more visit the Wicklow Tourism website: 

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Topics: Events, Wicklow

5 Gardens to Visit in Wicklow this Summer!

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jul 15, 2014 11:07:00 AM

There are so many beautiful gardens to discover in Wicklow! All are of outstanding natural beauty and diversity and each one distinctive in terms of mood and theme.  Due to the temperate climate, an unrivaled variety of trees, plants and shrubs await the visitor with many private gardens opened for this event (please check opening times).  Garden owners are only too delighted to welcome and share their experience and expertise with the visiting garden enthusiast.  A warm welcome awaits - here are our top picks!

The National Botanic Gardens Kilmacurragh


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Meet our Head Gardener Michael Byrne

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jul 9, 2014 12:21:45 PM

Meet our Head Gardener Michael Byrne!

What is the brief you have to work to as the head gardener at Powerscourt?

My brief as Head Gardener at Powerscourt Gardens is to develop and maintain the Gardens and the 1,000 acre estate to a very high standard with a lot of focus on attention to detail. I strive to preserve Powerscourt as a historical and heritage garden while creating new and exciting landscapes around those that already exist; introducing new planting and colourful schemes throughout the gardens.


How long have you been the head gardener at Powerscourt?

I have been working in Powerscourt Gardens for 7 years. It’s a very rewarding role because of its beautiful environment, scale and grandeur. Every day at Powerscourt is different and presents new challenges; whether it’s maintaining 280 year old antique gates or repairing rare and irreplaceable statues. Previous to coming here, I worked mainly in the U.K. for several organisations including Historic Scotland, the National Trust and the Forestry Commission.


How do you maintain the gardens? 

We maintain the gardens with a small team of 5 full time gardeners, and the assistance of a couple of horticultural students during the busy summer months. I assign my team different areas of the gardens to look after and we carry out a large variety of tasks. We meet on a daily basis but follow a week to week working programme. We have invested in the latest in garden machinery which helps us to maintain the gardens in a more efficient way.


How do the gardens change throughout the year?

The seasons play a very important part in Powerscourt Gardens and there is something new to see here each day. Most of my time in winter is spent planting flowers and bulbs for spring but there are plenty of perennials to enjoy in the garden and splashes of colour including Hollies, Skimmia and Witch Hazel. The gardens are ablaze with colour in spring with camellias, magnolias, rhododendrons, azaleas and pink and white cherry blossom. Our annual tulip festival sees 10,000 tulips decorate the gardens. During the summer months there are hundreds of roses in bloom and the summer bedding looks beautiful. Autumn is one of the most spectacular times to visit Powerscourt. The 300 year old Beech Avenue is reminiscent of New England with its copper tones and is a beautiful place to walk.


Is summer the best time to see the gardens in their full glory?

A large part of my role as Head Gardener in Powerscourt is to provide colourful blooms year-round for our visitors to enjoy. Summertime is the best time to visit the gardens, especially if you like Roses! The herbaceous border at Powerscourt, Ireland’s largest, is at its finest in summer and features over 700 varieties of plants. It’s a must-see for gardeners.


What is your favourite area of the gardens?

As much as I love the formality, symmetry and structure of the Italian Gardens, my favourite area of the garden is the Japanese Garden. Especially in early May when the Magnolias, Azaleas and Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom. It is a place of great peace and tranquillity with its grottos, pagodas, bridges and streams hidden away in its own little valley. I also love the Rhododendron Walk as it’s one of the quietest areas to stroll through the gardens while the Pet Cemetery is fun and quirky! 

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Powerscourt House, Gardening

President of Ireland visits Powerscourt Gardens

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jul 8, 2014 10:12:41 AM

President of Ireland visits Powerscourt Gardens 
-Voted no. 3 in the World’s Top 10 Gardens by the National Geographic-

Dublin, Ireland. Saturday, July 5th, 2014The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina paid a visit to Powerscourt Gardens in Enniskerry, County Wicklow today to congratulate staff on Powerscourt Gardens being voted the third best gardens in the world by National Geographic Magazine. To mark the accolade, the President planted a Cedar of Lebanon tree, following in the footsteps of luminaries such as Princess Grace of Monaco, Jackie Onassis, Buzz Aldrin and Mary Robinson, who have planted trees in the Gardens.


The prestigious accolade comes from National Geographic’s “Top Ten” series of the best trips, adventures and places to visit in the world. Other European countries to make it into the list included Chateau de Versailles in France (1st) and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, England (2nd). Powerscourt Gardens was the only Irish entry included, and one of seven European countries to make it into the top 10. The 47 acre gardens are listed ahead of celebrated horticultural hotspots, such as Villa d’Este (Tivoli, Italy), Dumbarton Oaks (Washington DC) and Chatsworth House (UK).


The recognition for National Geographic follows a string of other recent awards for Powerscourt, including the Top Ten Houses in the World (Powerscourt House, Lonely Planet), the Best Parkland Venue in Ireland 2014 Award (Powerscourt Golf Club, Golfer’s Guide to Ireland) and the 2014 Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor (Powerscourt Gardens).


Sarah Slazenger, General Manager, Powerscourt Estate said, "We are delighted to have hosted President Higgins and his wife Sabina on their visit today. The President and his wife were given a tour of the gardens before planting a Cedar of Lebanon tree, a large, long living tree with a unique heritage value, considered irreplaceable, and frequently planted by Presidents. To have the President acknowledge the National Geographic accolade and the work of the staff at the Estate was a great honour.  With one of the country’s most beautiful mansions and some of the most spectacular scenery as a backdrop, this honour from National Geographic is wonderful news indeed and adds to the multitude of reasons why Irish and international visitors should make Powerscourt Estate and Gardens a ‘must see’ destination. I’d like to add my congratulations to the staff and gardeners who have preserved Powerscourt as a historical and heritage garden, while creating new, exciting and evolving landscapes to complement those that already exist.”


More than half a million Irish and overseas visitors visit Powerscourt Estate annually, with more than 200,000 visitors to the gardens alone last year. Managed by Head Gardener, Michael Byrne and a team of four gardeners, Powerscourt Gardens were designed from 1731 onwards, with the desire to create a garden which was part of the wider landscape. Powerscourt Gardens include The Walled Gardens, The Italian Garden, The Dolphin Pond, The Japanese Gardens, Pets Cemetery and Pepperpot Tower, among other features and attractions.

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Events, Gardening

The Jungle Book at Powerscourt with Chapterhouse Theatre Company

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jul 4, 2014 11:42:00 AM

What a beautiful day in the gardens and what an amazing production of Jungle Book – I cannot recommend it enough! Take a look at the pictures and you will see the amazing costumes that words cannot do justice; as they say a picture speaks a thousand words! This theatre group are full of boundless energy and talent and bought the classic Jungle Book story so vividly to life.

Children, parents, friends and grandparents filled the lawn and they were not disappointed. Under a pure blue sky the show kept everyone fascinated with drama, humour and thrills. With a small interval which was perfect for the younger audience members and the cast more than happy to pose for photos at the end, it truly is a show for all the family. It was quite possibly my idea of a perfect afternoon!

It's the Jungle Book!!!


Picnics, picnics everywhere


Here's Baloo!


 I'm not a man cub my name is Mowgli


The sly Shere Khan is on the prowl


A family getting into the Jungle Book spirit
Molly relaxing and watching

Bagheera and Mowgli on their way to the monkey's territory


Mischievous monkey
Go away Shere Khan - we are not afraid of you!
Tall and proud
Picnicing in front of one of Ireland's most beautiful houses


Kerry Gordon, images copyright Kerry Gordon

About Kerry Gordon:

Kerry is Director of Development with the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland. The RHSI was founded almost two hundred years ago in 1816 to promote the knowledge and practice of horticulture in the island of Ireland. Today, with our charitable status, we achieve our objectives through seminars, lectures, tours and, since 2011, through our RHSI garden at the historic demesne of Russborough House in County Wicklow. RHSI Garden Russborough has been taken on under a license from the Alfred Beit Foundation and is in the process of being restored as a working fruit and vegetable garden.

RHSI’s reputation and commitment to excellence has resulted in partnerships with flagship gardens around Ireland, such as Powerscourt Gardens, where our membership is entitled to free or discounted entry. For further information on the RHSI or to become a member please check or to contact me on any blog related matters

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Events, Gardening

Gardening for Wildlife with Eanna Ni Lamhna

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jul 2, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Join one of Ireland’s best known public figures in the area of nature and the environment for a wild and wonderful talk about ‘Gardening for Wildlife’. Eanna Ni Lamhna, long standing contributor to “Mooney Goes Wild” and author of several wildlife books, will be at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion on Saturday July 12th at 2pm for the talk. With her matter-of-fact knowledge, humour and folklore-laden take on Irish wildlife, it’s sure to be entertaining!


Eanna will be making the case for other very useful pest reducing insects such as wasps which feed their young on aphids and greenflies, black beetles which devour earwigs and woodlice who are free dustbin men!

Learn how to attract wildlife such as butterflies and bees to your garden. Carnivores such as hedgehogs and blackbirds are always very welcome in gardens because they eat the herbivores that are destroying gardeners’ plants.


Enjoy an entertaining morning delivered in Eanna’s inimitable style. For more information and to book visit

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Topics: Powerscourt Garden Pavilion, Events, Gardening

Elf Hunters & Fairy Finders at Powerscourt Gardens

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jul 1, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Calling all Elf Hunters and Fairy Finders! If you are brave, pure of spirit and aged between 3 and 8 years old, help out in the Great Fairy Hunt in Powerscourt Gardens in County Wicklow on Sunday the 6th of July 2014!  Armed with a map and helped by a professional fairy hunter, you will be guided by the Pepper Pot Tower, through the Japanese Gardens and beyond past the Dolphin Pond in search of the “little people”! It's the perfect day out for the family.


Imaginosity, Dublin Children’s Museum, will lead this wonderful event for children at Powerscourt. Included in the ticket price is entry to the beautiful Powerscourt Gardens, recently voted No.3 in the World’s Top Ten Gardens by the National Geographic. For more information and to book tickets visit


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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Events

Walk up Lugnaquilla in Wicklow, the highest peak of Leinster

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jun 28, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Lugnaquilla is the highest mountain outside of Kerry, with its summit at 925 meters (3,035ft) above sea level. Walk the Mountain with us, it's a great day out in Wicklow!

This challenging but accessible mountain is one of the best walks in the Wicklow Mountains and on a clear day, offers breathtaking views over the Wicklow Mountains and far beyond.

Footfalls Walking Holidays & are organizing a series of fully guided walks to the summit of this mountain over July & August

Each walk is fully guided by qualified and experienced Mountain Leaders (2 guides for 16 people)


€25 per person


  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Well worn waterproof boots
  • Warm clothing, hat & gloves
  • Water and food for the walk
  • Good level of fitness
  • Enthusiasm and good humourclimb-lugnaquilla4

Walk Schedule:

  • 9:30 – 10am:  Walk Registration at the Glenmalure Lodge  (GPS:  52.957727, -6.353465 - click for map)
  • 10 to 10:15am:  Walk briefing at the Glenmlure Lodge  (GPS:  52.957727, -6.353465 - click for map)
  • Walks starts from Baravore/Upper Car Park Glenmalure Valley (GPS:  52.988009, -6.412902 - click for map)
  • Walk:  between 5 and 6 hours to complete
  • Refreshments:  from 3pm at the Glenmalure Lodge


Walk location:

  • Registration and booking will take place from 9.30 am at the Glenmalure Lodge  (GPS:  52.957727, -6.353465 – click for map)
  • The walk will start at the upper car park in the Glenmalure Valley (GPS:  52.988009, -6.412902 – click for map)


Terms & Conditions:

  • This is a prepaid walk only. No unpaid walkers will be accepted on the day.  Last booking for each walk will be accepted 4 days prior to the walk.
  • Refund for no shows will be at the discretion of the organizer.
  • Walkers must have required equipment ready before the climb. Walkers without adequate equipment will be refused to take part.
  • Participants must be 16 years of age or older on the day of the walk, all under 18s must have a parent/guardian with them at all times
  • Weather up Lugnaquilla is unstable, and reaching the summit is not guaranteed.
  • Footfalls Walking Holidays and reserve the right to cancel the walk up Lugnaquilla if weather conditions are not safe.  Alternative walk will be organised for the day.
  • The final decision for the climb or alternative walk will be done at briefing in the Glenmalure Lodge
  • This walk is fully guided, participants must stay with their guide at all times.
  • Dogs are not permitted on the route.
  • Footfalls Walking Holiday will be leading the climbs on the 27th of July & 31st of August
  • will be leading the climbs on the 6th or July and 10th of August
  • More info on Footfalls Walking Holidays
  • More info on

€25 per person

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Topics: Guest Blog, Wicklow

Line up for Enniskerry Food Festival Weekend!

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jun 24, 2014 11:12:23 AM

It’s the first ever Enniskerry Food Fest and Mad Hatter's Garden Party on the 28th & 29th June. The event takes place in the picturesque village of Enniskerry in County Wicklow, just beside Powerscourt Estate. Here is the line up of events!

SATURDAY 28th JUNE, Enniskerry Village Centre and surrounding venues 

Theme: Street Carnival

Adult  food & wine seminars/workshops 

11-1pm - “Sea Gardening”

An informative talk on seaweed cookery and the benefits of shoreline foraged ingredients with “The Sea Garden” author Marie Power from Co.Waterford.

Tickets: €10

Venue: Parochial Hall


 2-3.30pm - “Synchronicity” 

An exploration of the magical and unusual pairings of diverse Food & Wine’s with Dom Brice.

Tickets: €8.50

Venue: Parochial Hall

Children’s food workshops                       

11-1pm - “Sausage Workshop” 

Hands on workshop for all ages in the art of making sausages. Children will bring home their own handmade sausages to cook for dinner! Open to ages 6yrs upwards. Fully supervised and delivered by Ed Hick of Hicks Foods.

Venue: Upstairs @ Old Forge Inn

2-3.30pm - “Pizza Party”

With Pasquale from Emilia’s. Learn how to knead the dough for the perfect pizza and eat as you go!! Fully supervised and open to ages 6yrs upwards.

Tickets: €6.50

Venue: Emilia’s Restaurant


11-4pm - Street Food Theatre

Presented by renowned chef Rory Morahan, better known to many as the “The Druid Chef”, who hails from Bray.

Rory will work from his mobile kitchen and will create his bright and bountiful.

“Meet, Greet, Eat on the Street”

A series of Cookery demonstrations using the finest ingredients from our abundant county and its artisan producers. Meet the man that can cook as fast as he talks,  with a deep understanding, of the beauty and history around us!

He will delight our palate with seasonal tastes from the “Wicklow Garden” cooked on the street with downloadable recipes.

Free demo’s all day/Times will be postedVenue: Town Clock

10-5pm - A bright, bold and boisterous “Street Food Market” showcasing eclectic foods from around the world plus sampling products from suppliers already selling to our resident foodies.

10-5pm - Our resident food businesses create street impact and signature dishes outside their own premises while others offer in house speciality menus to woo the palate and quench the thirst!

10pm – 1am    80’s Dance Club.......

Which will explode from the function room of the “Old Forge Inn” with DJ

M.T.L from Audio Networks

Tickets: €12.50  & numbers are very limited so buy early......

Music on the street during the day courtesy of East Coast Radio Mobile Studio. Also featuring our invited guests, direct from Havana Cuba, the “Havana Club Trio”.


Venue: Powerscourt Golf Club & St. Patrick’s Church Grounds

Headline seminar on:

11-1pm - “Nutrition for Teens in Sport”

Delivered by Daniel Davey, Leinster Rugby Nutrition Coach.

An unmissible lecture aimed at players, parents, coaches and managers of sporting teens playing in today’s world of competitive sports.

Learn about the best food choices for health and performance. Dispel the myths and listen to professional advice from the man that helped Leinster win the Rabo Direct Pro 12, on how to prepare nutritionally for competition, play day and recovery. Hear the real truth about supplements................!!

Additional information delivered by Paul Thompson – Provincial coach for Leinster Junior Golf & the Irish Ladies Golfing Union.

Also in attendance:

Irish Institute of Nutrition & Health represented by Nutrition Coach Brian McNamara.

Supported by: Energie Fitness Clubs,

Kangen Water and Chopped, the Healthy Food Company.

Tickets: €8.50 / Students €5.00

Venue: Powerscourt Golf Club


Family Event:


Featuring the Dublin Brass Band.

Family day out so bring a picnic or delight in the various artisan food traders on site tempting you with:

Cake & Sweet stalls, Crepe’s, Vintage Coffee Van plus an array of hot food from around the world.

Entertainment to amuse the children and the highlight of the day will be our hat competition......................

Make or wear the Maddest Hat in your wardrobe and enter the “Hat Walk” Competition, judged by creative milliner Jean Condron from Hats by Jean.

Tickets: Adults €15 / Children Free

Venue: St. Patrick’s Church Grounds

Tickets: €10

All tickets are available from our booking office in “ Enniskerry Village Store” or from / 01-2724111

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Topics: Events

Jungle Fever at Powerscourt Gardens

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jun 18, 2014 2:18:00 PM

Join Chapterhouse Theatre Company in the magical surroundings of Powerscourt Gardens in County Wicklow as they present The Jungle Book in one of Ireland’s most stunning open-air venues. The event takes place on Sunday 29th of June at 2.30pm. In this beautiful adaptation by award winning writer Laura Turner, all your favourite animal characters are brought to life to create an enchanting and fun-filled musical show for children of all ages. 


In the magical Indian jungle, a new arrival changes the animal kingdom forever.  Join Mowgli on his wonderful adventures with the loveable and wise Baloo the Bear, the powerful panther Bagheera, not to mention mischievous monkeys and the terrifying tiger Shere Khan! All the family will enjoy this fantastic summer hit. Bring along a picnic and soak up the views while you enjoy the surroundings of one of Ireland’s most beautiful gardens. To book visit

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Events

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