The Powerscourt Blog

Practical Herbs for Health with Isobel Jordan Keeling

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 18, 2015 10:58:00 AM

Practical Herbs for Health with Isobel Jordan Keeling

Celebrate National Herb Week at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion in Enniskerry County Wicklow on May 26th at 11.30am and help a local charity, the Wicklow Hospice. All funds raised at this talk will go to the hospice.

In this talk fully qualified and practicing herbalist, Isobel Jordan Keeling will introduce all the families of herbs that a herbalist uses, and the ailments which can be treated using these herbs. Isobel will demonstrate various home remedies and home recipes that we can all use as part of our own family health care. You will learn about the best times to harvest herbs, and how to prepare teas, oils, tinctures, creams and compresses.


The cost per ticket is €5 and advance booking is required. For more information on this event visit

Isobel Jordan Keeling is a qualified Herbalist and Naturopath practicing in Windgates, Greystones. She treats clients with a wide variety of ailments, and has a particular interest in the prevention and complimentary treatment of cancer. Isobel leads foraging walks and demonstrations of how to use the wild herbs in teas, creams and much more.


About Wicklow Hospice

Wicklow Hospice Foundation is a voluntary organisation set up by the People of Wicklow for the People of Wicklow. Its aims are to improve and promote Palliative Care services in the Community, to bring a Consultant on board and to build a stand-alone specialist unit for the people of Wicklow.  In order to bring this project to fruition they need to raise €2.5 million. 

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Topics: Powerscourt Garden Pavilion, Events, Gardening

Guided walking tour of Powerscourt Gardens with Sara Waldburg

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 14, 2015 4:44:16 PM

With thanks to Kerry Gordon for this review!

"As a long time visitor to Powerscourt Gardens it was interesting to take a guided tour with Sara Waldburg, an expert on all things houses, castles and gardens in Ireland!


A charming host she met our amiable and chatty group with a surprise up her sleeve that – Alex Slazenger, one of the younger generation of the Slazenger family that owns Powerscourt Estate  – was to join us.  Alex turned out to be great fun and one of the gardening team so his insight, especially about the herbaceous border, was very interesting.


As you can see from my photo blog we wound our way around the Estate looking at the breathtaking array of statues, gates and fountains carefully picked by the Wingfield Family.











The Powerscourt blog is full of wonderful historical information and you can read the fascinating story of how this wondrous garden is now here for us to enjoy.



Information on the statues can be found here:

Read more about the Gates of Powerscourt:

Read about the Italian Gardens, the Terraces and Triton Lake:

Read more about the Pet Cemetery:

Read about Powerscourt House:"

Until next time!

Kerry Gordon

About Sara Waldburg: Sara is the Manager of Houses, Castles and Gardens of Ireland is a County Wicklow resident and a good friend of Powerscourt.

About Kerry Gordon: Kerry lives by the sea in Co. Wicklow with her daughter Molly and Greyhound Lola. She is a long term blogger for Powerscourt Estate and Gardens and enjoys nothing more than visiting Powerscourt Waterfall and then going to the Gardens followed by a tasty scone and pot of tea.

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Guest Blog, Events, Gardening

Explore The Year of Design 2015!

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Apr 30, 2015 4:14:00 PM

By now you may have heard about, visited, followed on social media or wanted to visit The Design Loft @ Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry! Shopping for beautiful locally hand-crafted, original Irish design, from jewellery and ceramics to art and textiles, to clothes and accessories for men and women – just took an interesting twist recently (as it is the Year of the Design in 2015) with the launch of Orla Kiely Bags in Wicklow!   Other new designers this year launching their Spring Summer 2015 ranges include Liz Quin (formerly of Quin & Donnelly) and Jennifer Rothwell (noted recently for her stunning “Harry Clarke” inspired print on scarves and jersey dresses.  


This unique Award winning retail gallery opened in July 2013 upstairs on the First Floor in the spectacular Powerscourt House, in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow.  It houses a showcase of work from 35  different local designers, artists and makers and every two months the showcase changes with new designers’ work.  Some designers take full residence on the shelves and walls like The Greystones Gallery, a collective of five local photographers headed up by James Griffin.

Open 7 days a week year round – this will enhance the already busy shopping emporium at Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry, in the Garden of Ireland!

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Nature Detectives at Powerscourt Waterfall

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Apr 30, 2015 11:00:00 AM

Would your family enjoy becoming nature detectives for a day? Get your senses ready for a great family day out in the beautiful surrounds of Powerscourt Waterfall in County Wicklow on 24th of May from 2pm to 4pm. Meet your Chief Nature Detective and receive your instructions and mission map.  Could you become a nature detective by using all of your senses to explore, discover and learn about the bugs, beasties and plant life at Powerscourt Waterfall? Join Imaginosity, Dublin Children’s Museum at Powerscourt Waterfall on a great outdoor nature trail to find out!


Enjoy a day out with Imaginosity’s friendly team, get right up close to Ireland’s highest waterfall, and walk the natural woodland trails in the surrounding parkland. Families can bring along a picnic or BBQ and really make a day of it! Experience a hands-on approach to exploring our natural world, designed to engage the senses and create a deeper appreciation of our natural heritage.


The event is suitable for children aged 3-10 years. Included in the ticket price is entry to the beautiful Powerscourt Waterfall. Tickets can be bought in advance online through

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Events, Powerscourt Waterfall

Guided Walking Tour of the Garden and Landscape Design History of Powerscourt Gardens

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Apr 27, 2015 3:58:57 PM

Be transported back in time by Sara Waldburg, Manager of Houses, Castles and Gardens of Ireland, for a historical walking tour of Powerscourt Gardens and the wider landscape beyond in County Wicklow on 7th of May at 11am. Sara is a County Wicklow resident and a long-time friend of Powerscourt. She will show you the hidden gems of the gardens and provide plenty of interesting anecdotes along the way!


Discover Lord Powerscourt’s vast collection of gates, statues and fountains throughout the gardens. Learn about garden designer Daniel Robertson who is said to have suffered from gout and directed work in the gardens from a wheelbarrow, fortified by a bottle of sherry! Uncover how Powerscourt is managed today and get a behind the scenes insight into how the team of just 6 gardeners maintain such a complex and labour intensive wonder!


Hear about the tasks the team perform every day from cleaning rare statues, to repairing three hundred year old gates and the secret to mowing the remarkable lawn terraces in the gardens. Enjoy this historical walking tour of Powerscourt Gardens and experience three hundred years of garden design and development in the breath-taking mountain setting of rugged County Wicklow.

The cost of the event is included in the entry price to Powerscourt Gardens and is free for Powerscourt members. To buy tickets and for further information visit

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Events, Gardening

Review of Hop N Hunt at Powerscourt Gardens

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Apr 16, 2015 11:54:59 AM

We got to attend the Easter ‘Hop n' Hunt’ in Powerscourt Gardens this year. Having spent Easter Sunday feasting and watching television, a trip up to Powerscourt was a great excuse to get out, stretch our legs and most importantly, to STOP eating chocolate!

We were booked in to the 12.30pm time-slot, and were greeted on arrival by a very friendly Easter chick who chatted to the children and happily posed for photos.


We were then directed to the walled garden where two ladies from Imaginosity were just starting the warm-up exercises to prepare for the hunt. The sun was shining, the children were excited and before we knew it we were donning bunny ears and climbing into sacks to hop around the garden finding clues that would lead to the eventual pay off at the 'treasure table'.


Our eldest volunteered to hop (a member of the family had to be 'hopping' at all times), while her little brother offered to write down all the letters that the clues revealed (good educational fun!) and my youngest was happy just running around in the sunshine following the herd. The sunshine, the location and the staff from Imaginosity all helped make this a very enjoyable event. 


So would I recommend it to others? Now, I’m not a fan of adults paying to go to kids events. However, in this case, the €25 family ticket included the egg hunt and full access to the gardens for the day. In my opinion, this ‘package’ makes it well worth the money (particularly as the sun was beaming).There is so much to do and explore in the gardens.


It may be a thought for next year though to put together a little basket of goodies per family, rather than choosing an egg or tea cake from a plastic tub, but that is just my opinion. Now where did I stash the children’s Easter haul??

Aisling Lyons

Aisling is a new blogger for Powerscourt Estate who will be posting about our family events throughout the year. Aisling runs a parenting blog which you can follow here.

Bio: My name is Aisling Lyons, stay at home mother of three, and sometime radio pundit ;).I have over 20 years experience in the childcare sector, starting out as nursery nurse before moving into nannying, and then returning to work in creches for over 14 years, twelve of which were in creche management. I managed a private creche "Johnstown Kiddiecare" in Kilpeddar, Co. Wicklow, and then moved into Dublin to manage the nursery on-site in Trinity College Dublin. I finally left that position to open my own creche "Aisling Childcare", which I ran for seven years. I closed the creche when baby number three was imminent as I really wanted to focus on motherhood. I am passionate about children being given the very best opportunities to allow them to grow up to be happy and confident. I set up a blog to help any parents struggling with the little and large problems that parenting young children can bring! I really hope that some ideas I bring will help families thrive and forge ahead!: )

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Guest Blog, Events

Tulip Fever hits Powerscourt Gardens

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Apr 2, 2015 12:57:23 PM

There are gardens, and there is Powerscourt! Discover Powerscourt in spring, when the estate is ablaze with colour. Don’t miss the opportunity to see over 12,000 tulips in bloom at the Annual Tulip Festival which takes place from 20th of April to the 3rd of May


Displays of tulips are located throughout the gardens, from the Italian Gardens to the Herbaceous Border. Head Gardener Michael Byrne will give a guided walk of the festival on the 22nd of April at 11am and introduce visitors to the many unusual blooms in the gardens.


Don’t miss the Japanese Garden which comes to life in spring. Inhale the fragrances from sweet magnolia flowers, perfumed azaleas and cherry and apple blossom trees, bearing cascades of pink and white flowers. The Camellias in the Memorial Garden are a welcome surprise for visitors while thousands of daffodils add some spring cheer after the long winter months. To buy tickets and for further information visit

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Gardening

Review of Spring & Easter Floral Art at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Mar 24, 2015 11:25:48 AM

With thanks to Kerry Gordon for this review!

"Powerscourt Garden Pavilion is bursting with colour at the moment with Spring flowers blooming and wonderful Easter surprises at every corner. It is amongst this wonderful backdrop that Carol Bone, a legend in the world of floral art, was working her magic!


This was my first time at a floral art demonstration and I was very fortunate to see such a maestro at work. Carol, who happens to live in my beloved Co. Wicklow, is such a warm, fun and elegant demonstrator and she explained how to create these displays in a manner that even a beginner could follow. It was an entertaining master class by someone who clearly loves what she does and wants to share this in a truly inclusive manner.


Carol’s key themes are to keep it simple, take your time, prepare in advance and use everything you have in your garden. Spring is my favourite time of year so I was thrilled when she began with a tulip creation that was breathtaking in its simplicity and contemporary look. Contorted willow was placed into the oasis base which was in a flat wooden tray. Leaves such as laurel or ivy were wrapped around hairpins and white tulips fed in-between the willow. Carol explained the importance of keeping structure with different heights - for example in this display you gain movement from the willow and also from the tulips. Condition the tulip like most spring flowers by placing them in a bucket of water, after cutting the ends off the stem, which should help them last a week. During  Spring time it is lovely to have a mixture of branch and blooming flower which works delightfully. Put the willow in first but leave plenty of space for the tulips. Place the heather and some green hypericon berries, which achieve a calming effect, down low to bring your eye down which helps picks up the container. Finally as it nearly Easter Carol placed in some cute bunny rabbits and an egg – just delicious!


With this display Carol staggered irises and using different lengths she placed them slightly apart. Some were put in the back to bring depth so that the display is not flat. With most designs you start with the foliage first but in this design where there is little space it is better to put the flowers in first. Anemones were then added and finally succulents at the end. A great tip is that you can take the succulents out of the arrangement, put them in gritty soil, and then reuse them again.  Layering was done with Arum maculatum (known more commonly as Lords and Ladies), then some berries were added and the whole display was surrounded by pussy willow. Little bits of foliage were finally placed at the front and back. As with most things take your time and practice makes perfect!


Starting with a plain green pot Carol took her Ivy Vine and whilst pushing it in she wound it round and around until it looked like a nest. Onto this she placed quail eggs and guinea fowl feathers that can be sourced from any good florists. This is a low arrangement so the tulips and roses were cut short. With the leaves Carol showed us the clever trick of twisting and turning the leaf back onto itself and using them to cover the oasis. So pretty! Again she emphasised not being too fussy in your decorations. Some cultivated Astrantia was added and its fuzzy texture blended wonderfully with the smoothness of the tulips. The result was one of the prettiest Spring displays I have seen.


Carol pinned Ivy leaves onto the oasis. She took snake grass which is unusual in that it can be manipulated and placed some into the start of the arrangement. Effortlessly she placed yellow Gerberas and Rip Van Winkles, making sure that everything was at different heights. Being careful  to keep space and to keep it unfussy she finally placed in miniature daffodils and the delightful purple Freschias. A work of art in a few minutes and effortlessly presented – fabulous!

A wonderful surprise was that all the floral art was raffled at the end with proceeds going to Down Syndrome Ireland and floral displays going to very happy homes!

For more events (it is advised to book tickets in advance) see

About Carol Bone: Carol Bone lives in Wicklow, ‘The Garden of Ireland’ and was brought up with a love of gardening, horticulture, art and design. After a successful gardening career, Carol qualified as AOIFA (Association of Irish Floral Artists) demonstrator and teacher. She has since demonstrated extensively in England and Ireland and represented Ireland in the International Demonstration at the World Show in Boston in 2011. Carol has served as President of the Association of Irish Floral Artists and Publicity Officer for the World Flower Show 2014.

About Kerry Gordon: Kerry Gordon lives by the sea in Co. Wicklow with her daughter Molly and Greyhound Lola. She is a long term blogger for Powerscourt Estate and Gardens and enjoys nothing more than visiting Powerscourt Waterfall and then going to the Gardens followed by a tasty scone and pot of tea. 

Text and images copyright of Kerry Gordon

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Topics: Guest Blog, Powerscourt Garden Pavilion, Events

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

The Boyle Monument (Photo: St Patrick’s Cathedral

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

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