The Powerscourt Blog

Sense and Sensibility at Powerscourt Gardens

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jul 4, 2016 10:25:49 AM


Last Sunday, despite the fact that there was an important (by now unmentionable) football match on and also despite the fact that there was intermittent torrential rain, my sister Cáit and I took ourselves off to Powerscourt Gardens to enjoy a bit of 'culture'. We joined Chapterhouse Theatre Company for an afternoon of watching Elinor and Marianne Dashwood make their first forays into the exquisite world of eighteenth-century society, in an open-air theatre adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.


Performed in Powerscourt’s beautiful Walled Garden, it promised to be a most splendid afternoon. What could be better than spending a Summer's afternoon in one of Ireland’s most beautiful gardens while being entertained by one of my favourite stories being brought to life? Well, I'll tell you! 


Although Cáit and I initially thought we were very clever bringing a picnic blanket and stopping into the Avoca café for coffee and cookies beforehand, it was only when we settled into our spot and looked around us we realised how woefully under-prepared we were.  This open-air theatre lark is exceptionally civilised. All around us, there were people sitting on lovely lawn chairs, with mouthwatering picnics set about them. There were even those who had thought to bring little tables along, to put their bottles of wine and real glass wine-glasses on. The air was filled with the sound of popping champagne corks and all of a sudden we felt quite sad about our (absolutely delicious but somehow inadequate) chocolate chip cookies.


Despite the absence of wine and fancy picnic food, however, the afternoon was, indeed,  as splendid as promised. The weather held for most of the afternoon. The play was entertaining and well acted and I absolutely commend the actors for not running for cover when the heavens did finally open towards the end - although the rain actually added a great touch of realism to the 'storm' scene, I thought! 


Cáit and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and have decided that we're going again next time. And, in a bid to make up for a slightly missed opportunity of living it up on a Sunday afternoon, we've already decided that there will definitely be wine. And chairs. And the fanciest of fancy picnic food.
Won't you join us?
Sadhbh Devlin
See Powerscourt's full programme of events for more things to do over the coming year.

Disclosure: We were invited by Powerscourt Estate to attend Sense and Sensibility for the purposes of review. All opinions are my own, however, and I was not paid to give them.

About Sadhbh:

Hello! My name is Sadhbh.
(My name looks tricky to pronounce, but it sounds like the number five... if the number five started with an S - 'Sive') -
I am mama to little twin girls, Lile and Sábha (more tricky names - Lilla & Saw-va!). They are the apples of my eyes.
I am married to Devo, my very lovely and very tall husband.
I love to write, craft, create, hang around in nature, bake, read other people's blogs and as many books as possible, listen to music, learn about and experience as many new things as I can in my one precious life.
This blog is where I write about seasonal celebrations, simple craft projects and the adventures I have with my girls. I also mention fairies and unicorns a fair bit...

You can check out Sadhbh's blog here: 

Read More

Topics: Powerscourt Gardens, Events, Wicklow

Inspiration for Gardeners along Ireland’s longest herbaceous border

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jun 27, 2016 4:56:49 PM

When visiting the gardens of the great houses of Ireland you will often stumble across magnificent, colourful plants climbing their classical walls, waiting to be admired. This summer, be inspired by Ireland’s longest herbaceous border in the third best garden in the world at Powerscourt Gardens (National Geographic). The original selection of plants and shrubs along the herbaceous border were chosen by Lady Powerscourt, the wife of the 7th Lord Powerscourt. Her husband once said “The planting of the choice plants and shrubs, and seeing them increase year by year in size and beauty has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life.”


Join the horticulturalists of Powerscourt Garden Pavilion who will be giving a free talk to help you create a miniature version of their famous herbaceous border in your own garden at home. Popular from the Victorian era onwards, herbaceous plants were carefully chosen and arranged, not for their rarity, but for the beautiful sight they created when placed together. Get ideas from the Powerscourt team about which herbaceous plants to grow together, conditions, plant care and climate, and unusual annuals and specimens to try.  The talk takes place on 12th of July at 11am in Powerscourt Garden Pavilion.


Now that you have the know-how come back and join Head Gardener Alex Slazenger for a lovely morning exploring the herbaceous border at Powerscourt Gardens on the 15th of July at 11am. Featuring over 700 varieties of plants and shrubs, this spectacular border boasts an amazing array of foliage at varying heights during the summer months. Alex will give visitors behind the scenes advice on how he creates this display each year and how to produce a well-stocked border. Tickets to Powerscourt Gardens must be bought for the tour which is free for annual members of Powerscourt. For more information and to book tickets, visit the Powerscourt Estate website

About Powerscourt Gardens: 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.

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Events, Gardening

Spread your wings at FairyLAND in Powerscourt Gardens!

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jun 27, 2016 2:49:16 PM

If you are looking for a magical day out with your family this weekend, join the Imaginosity team and their enchanted realm of fairies at Powerscourt Gardens in beautiful County Wicklow. Creating an enchanted atmosphere, this event will be filled with fairy dust, magical pathways, fairy games and activities. Children will follow a secret fairy trail, find hidden messages, experience the magic of the woodlands and meet and greet real live fairies! Dress up is encouraged for all magical folk who attend, including mammies and daddies!


The event takes place on the 10th of July from 12.30pm onwards and is suitable for children aged 3-10. 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. Advance booking is essential; you can book online through the Powerscourt Website:

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Events, Wicklow

The most scenic yoga class you’ll ever take at Powerscourt Gardens

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jun 27, 2016 12:54:38 PM

If you’re the kind of person who loves getting outside, taking in the fresh air and blue skies around you and don't mind getting a bit of grass on your mat, outdoor yoga may be for you!

Reap the benefits of practicing yoga outdoors in a beautiful setting and head to Powerscourt Gardens where teacher Eike Treanor will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated with a weekly class which runs from July 9th to 30th each Saturday at 11am.


Rebalance and restore your body with this Vinyasa based class under the sky in Powerscourt’s Walled Gardens. Vinyasa yoga links breath to movement and builds endurance, flexibility and concentration. The class is suitable for all levels, both for beginners and those with experience. Open your senses and get closer to nature as you relax in the fresh air and natural light.

Teacher Eike has been studying yoga for over fifteen years and teaching for over ten years. Eike brings her unique style to each class and will bring you closer to your yoga goal. Book your place now on and find inner peace in the great outdoors.

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Events, Wicklow

Powerscourt features in 2016 European Championship Football Video!

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jun 15, 2016 11:07:13 AM

What a start to the European 2016 Championship on Monday! Following a superb goal from Ireland, we are off to a great start in the tournament. We are all looking forward to the matches with Belgium and Italy here at Powerscourt.

Tourism Ireland has put together an amazing video of our boys in green playing football at some of the most iconic locations in Ireland, including Powerscourt!


We hope you enjoy it and that it brings a little bit of Ireland and football magic to you, wherever in the world you are watching :) Best of luck to all the countries taking part in this year's Euro games.


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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Wicklow

Treat Dad to some extra special time out this Father’s Day at Powerscourt Hotel Resort and Spa

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 31, 2016 2:50:54 PM

With Father’s Day just around the corner, why not treat Dad to some time out from the stresses of everyday life with the Tee Off at Powerscourt Hotel package?  Located just 30 minutes from Dublin, Powerscourt Hotel Resort and Spa offers the perfect escape for that special man in your life this Father’s Day. 


Your dad will enjoy a luxurious overnight stay with breakfast overlooking the Sugar Loaf Mountain and a gourmet dinner for two in Sika restaurant, carefully prepared by Chef Peter Byrne and his team in Sika restaurant, with an emphasis on local excellence, seasonality and the best of Irish contemporary cooking. The package also includes a round of golf at Powerscourt Golf Club, with dad hitting the fairways on either the East or West course.


And for that special man who likes to be pampered, spoil him with an additional treat of a relaxing hot towel shave by our expert therapist Daniel O’ Connor, which includes a facial cleanse, exfoliation and a relaxing scalp massage in the award-winning ESPA. An open razor blade is used for the ultimate shave finish and a cool compress is applied to soothe the skin.

The Tee Off package is available from €225 per person sharing, while the Hot Towel Shave treatment costs €95 for 60 minutes.

For more information on the Tee Off package at Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa, visit or telephone 01 274 8888.

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate

High-tech climate change centre planned for Powerscourt estate - Irish Times

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 31, 2016 2:12:03 PM

Cool Planet Experience, due to open in 2017, has backing of several top Irish companies

Dripping glaciers, extreme weather rooms and trees with pulsating hearts are among some of the high-tech exhibits planned for a climate change centre at Powerscourt estate in Co Wicklow.

The Cool Planet Experience gives a glimpse into what the planet will look like in 50 years’ time if we continue burning fossil fuels and clearing rainforests at the current rate.

It is being modelled on London’s Science Museum and Belfast’s W5, albeit on a smaller scale and with a climate focus.

The centre, which aims to open in early 2017, is the brainchild of Norman Crowley, serial entrepreneur and founder of energy firm Crowley Carbon.

“Since the beginning of this century, the world has recorded 15 of the hottest years in terms of global temperatures. It is now clear that climate change is the biggest threat to our children,” said Mr Crowley. One of the main goals is to educate children on this, he said.

As well as Crowley Carbon, the centre has the financial backing of some of Ireland’s leading companies, including NTR, Vodafone and Calor.

It will be in a two-story building beside the Powerscourt Gardens and theAvoca store and restaurant, which receive nearly 500,000 visitors a year.


Artist’s impression of the dripping glacier at the Cool Planet Experience, which is due to open at the Powerscourt Estate in early 2017. Picture: Martello Media

Cool Planet curators hope to drum up a footfall of close to 45,000 in their first year.

They have employed Dublin-based Martello Media, the firm behind the GPO’s 1916 exhibition, to develop a series of high-spec exhibits and interactive games to give visitors an “experiential journey” through climate change.

“Visitors will get to feel different extremes of weather from severe drought to the howling winds and raging waters and hear the stories of those affected directly,” they said.

The Slazenger family, which owns and runs the Powerscourt estate, are understood to be strongly supportive.

“This is one of the most exciting ideas we have seen in relation to educating the public on climate change and the action that’s required,” NTR boss Rosheen McGuckian said.

A landmark deal to tackle climate change was agreed by 195 countries at UN talks in Paris last year. It commits the EU to cutting its own greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent on 1990 levels by 2030.

The respective cuts applied to each member state have yet to be decided.Ireland is known to be lobbying hard to have its relatively large agricultural sector, the chief generator of carbon emissions here, taken into account.


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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Wicklow

Sense & Sensibility at Powerscourt Gardens

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 25, 2016 10:13:37 AM


Join Chapterhouse Theatre Company in the magical surroundings of Powerscourt Gardens in County Wicklow as they present Sense & Sensibility in one of Ireland’s most stunning open-air venues. Enjoy an afternoon of Regency wonderment on 26th of June at 2.30pm as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood make their first forays into the fascinating world of eighteenth-century society.



Picnic with family and friends as you follow the sisters while they find their path and lose their hearts under a beautiful summer sky in their quest to find the perfect balance of sense and sensibility. Performed in Powerscourt’s period Walled Garden this promises to be one of the most splendid afternoons of the open-air theatre season.


Bring along a picnic and soak up the views while you relax in one of Ireland’s most beautiful gardens. Ticket prices are from €16.50 and include entry to Powerscourt Gardens.  To book visit

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Events, Wicklow

Historical Walking Tour of Powerscourt Estate and Gardens in Co. Wicklow

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 24, 2016 12:41:19 PM

Thanks to Kerry Gordon for this lovely review of our recent historical walking tour at Powerscourt.

"It was with great pleasure that I joined the fascinating guided tour of Powerscourt Estate’s garden with John Ducie, who is an entertaining garden historian, horticulturist and good friend of Powerscourt over the years.


John Ducie

Originally a castle, in the 18th Century the first Viscount Powerscourt transformed this castle into a grand Palladian mansion with a great Baroque landscape.  With the advent of the Grand Tour of Europe it became fashionable to build gardens in an Italian style inspired by the Renaissance. Daniel Robertson became the architect behind the Italian Garden we see today which was voted the 3rd best garden in the world by National Geographic.


However it is the Seventh Viscount who had the vision to create an “outdoor gallery” in the perfect setting of Powerscourt Estate, nestled in the mountains of Wicklow. This natural landscape is now filled with artwork, plants and trees from around the world. His wife the Empress Julia inspired the ornamental planting where formal Victorian tea parties could be held as was the fashion at the time. The beautiful Julia’s Memorial was built as a tribute to her.


Julia's Memorial

Powerscourt Gardens is also a “living garden” with a stunning herbaceous border in the walled garden, with ornamental fountains which were originally water supplies to feed the garden. With the opening up of exploration and trade routes, exotic plants and trees began to flood into Ireland from a far afield as New Zealand, the United States of America and China. Many of these thrived in the Irish climate and can be found in the beautiful arboretum of trees today situated in the romantic landscape.


Head Gardener Alex Slazenger

The Slazenger family bought Powerscourt Estate from the Ninth Viscount and the current Head Gardener is Alex Slazenger who can usually be found in the gardens with his passionate team working on maintaining and nurturing this beautiful estate.   



John’s enthusiasm, passion and never-ending knowledge of the history of the Estate through the centuries, created an intriguing event. Our group included many different nationalities including people like myself that are interested in learning more about the history of Co. Wicklow through often turbulent times.


John succeeded in transporting us back in time to a land of Viscounts when new types of art and architecture being introduced to the East of Ireland. More of this can be discovered in Ireland’s Ancient East of which Powerscourt Estate is an important highlight.

This event was included in the entry price to Powerscourt Gardens and was free for Powerscourt members. To book tickets for a future visit,"


About John Ducie:

John Ducie is a professional Horticulturist, garden historian and landscape designer. He is a past President of the European Network of National Heritage Organisations and a past Chairman of the Heritage Gardens and Designed Landscapes Committee for Ireland. He was a founder of both The Tree Council of Ireland and the Irish Garden Plant Society. He is a Failte Ireland Approved National Tour Guide and a member of ATGI.  He has known and loved Powerscourt for more than 50 years met the last Viscount to live there and was in the house before the great fire of 1974.

About Kerry Gordon:

Kerry Gordon lives by the sea in Co. Wicklow, Ireland 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, walking in Powerscourt Gardens, followed by a tasty scone and pot of tea in Avoca at Powerscourt House. Kerry can be reached at or @kerrymgordon

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Wicklow

Sensory Nature Trail at Powerscourt Waterfall Review

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 24, 2016 10:01:10 AM


Many thanks to our wonderful new blogger Sadhbh for this fantastic review of our sensory nature trail at Powerscourt Waterfall last weekend! Check out Sadhbh's blog here: 

"Yesterday, we had the very good fortune to be invited to visit Powerscourt Waterfall to attend their 'Sensory Nature Trail' event, which was hosted by Imaginosity (Dublin's Children's Museum). As a family, we are very interested in and inspired by the natural world so it sounded like a great way for us to spend a Sunday afternoon. However, visiting the highest waterfall in Ireland is never a bad idea and it's a must-see if you're in the Wicklow area


The sun shone as we made our way down the winding avenue towards the waterfall and we easily spotted the Imaginosity team sitting on picnic blankets waiting for the children to arrive. They had lots of interesting things laid out for us to explore. Shells, model insects and leaves which could be inspected by magnifying glass. There were also some beautiful books about nature, from which we learned about the life-cycle of the butterfly. 


When everyone had gathered together we practiced listening, looking, feeling and smelling in preparation for our sensory walk. We were also offered the chance to make some 'nature bracelets' which I thought was a simple-but-brilliant idea. (Clearly evidenced by the fact that I was the only parent that accepted the offer...) One of the team wrapped wide tape around our wrists, so that the sticky side faced up, and we collected little flowers, moss, grass, seeds, leaves, etc and stuck them to it as we walked. We all ended up with rather fetching bracelets by the end of the day! 


The pace of the trail was perfect. There was no rush at all and there was enough time at each 'station' for each child to fully engage with the task. Throughout, the Imaginosity team always took the time to pay attention to the little discoveries the children made along the way and to share them with the group. They really made each child feel included and the atmosphere in the group was friendly and relaxed. 



Along the trail we had a chance to talk about trees and to take rubbings from the bark of a Giant Redwood. We also had a chance to fly like butterflies and to climb like spiders in a giant 'spiderweb'. We met a frog in the grass, smelled dried lavender, felt (and tasted!) fresh pine needles. We made a wish at the wishing bridge, painted with mud (!) by the river, visited a fairy tree filled with glitter and found sparkling stones in the river, before finally making our way up to the beautiful waterfall. It truly was a feast for the senses.


Moments after this picture was taken the frog leapt from captivity and 'kissed' Sábha on the face



And after all that, the team somehow still had the energy to play some games with us! We played with a huge colourful parachute and had some sack-races - which were hilarious. Especially when the parents took part...


My girls were reluctant to leave the place at the end of the event and have been talking about it non-stop since. They were excited to tell their teacher all about it this morning - which is the highest of compliments from them these days! It was a great event and a really lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon.
Powerscourt Estate have a wonderful programme of events lined up for the year ahead and I highly recommend checking them out. You're bound to find something suitable for your family. Or for yourself!

Disclosure: We were invited by Powerscourt Estate to attend the Sensory Nature Trail for the purposes of review. All opinions are my own, however, and I was not paid to give them. 

About Sadhbh:

Hello! My name is Sadhbh.
(My name looks tricky to pronounce, but it sounds like the number five... if the number five started with an S - 'Sive') -
I am mama to little twin girls, Lile and Sábha (more tricky names - Lilla & Saw-va!). They are the apples of my eyes.
I am married to Devo, my very lovely and very tall husband.
I love to write, craft, create, hang around in nature, bake, read other people's blogs and as many books as possible, listen to music, learn about and experience as many new things as I can in my one precious life.
This blog is where I write about seasonal celebrations, simple craft projects and the adventures I have with my girls. I also mention fairies and unicorns a fair bit...

You can check out Sadhbh's blog here: 

Read More

Topics: Events, Powerscourt Waterfall, Wicklow

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