The Powerscourt Blog

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: 

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Topics: Events, Powerscourt Waterfall, Wicklow

Sense-sational Nature Trail at Powerscourt Waterfall!

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 16, 2016 4:17:27 PM

Escape to the inspiring surroundings of Ireland’s highest waterfall at Powerscourt and use all of your senses to explore and discover the natural world around you.


Enjoy a sense-sational, sensory experience with Imaginosity, Dublin’s Childrens’ Museum on the 22nd of May at 2pm. Take part in a sensory trail, interactive sensory activities and outdoor family games! 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! Suitable for ages 3 to 10 years. The event costs €16 for a family of 5, with entrance to the waterfall included. To book your place, visit
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Topics: Events, Powerscourt Waterfall, Wicklow

A Wicklow wonderland worthy of Alice - Irish Daily Mail

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 16, 2016 2:41:29 PM

Many thanks to Leonie Cornelius for allowing us to publish her recent article on Powerscourt Gardens from the Irish Daily Mail. 

May is finally here. Even after an unusually cold start into the year we are now truly ready to get out and explore. At this time of the year there is no better place to admire the beauty of gardens than Powerscourt House and Gardens in County Wicklow. It is  hard to believe that this 1,000 acre oasis of woodland, spectacular mountain views and ancient parkland is on Dublin’s doorstep. The amazing views of the Sugarloaf Mountain are breathtaking and the whole area has an incredible feeling of tranquillity and calm. From the stunning Italian Garden to the exotic sunken Japanese Garden and the extensive herbaceous border, it is easy to lose oneself in the magical feel of the estate.


The gardens are host to many exciting garden events and tours such as the annual tulip festival, which sees 12,000 tulips decorate the gardens in April as well as guided walks and grow your own courses. In May the perennial borders in the walled garden really start to come into their own with flashes of colour and well chosen plants sitting very naturally in the space. Every year for RTE Supergarden we film and photograph at this stunning location and every time I visit I am equally impressed by the beauty of the place.


Exploring the grounds is like an adventure reminiscent of Alice discovering Wonderland. From the sloping terraces leading down to the fantastic pond with its spumes of water to the many intricate topiary features the garden is ever evolving yet so strong in its design foundation.

One of the most spectacular parts of the garden, which by the way was voted No 3 in in the world by National Geographic, is the famous Rhododendron walk. This area, as well as the Pet Cemetery, is also one of the favourites of Powerscourt head Gardener Alex Slazenger. From tall, clouded shapes in purple that seem to soar towards the horizon to more delicate pink azalea varieties, this wonderful rounded walk is maintained to perfection.


Most Rhododendrons originate from the Himalayan regions of India, China, Burma and Tibet but many Azaleas, which are also part of the Rhododendron group, come from Japan.  Sizes of this shrub vary massively from tiny dwarf varieties to huge 18 meter high trees.

As beautiful as this plant is, the Rhododendron is a tricky plant to grow successfully in the garden. It is not a grow anywhere plant, and though it may do reasonably well in neutral soil, it really needs an acidic soil to be at its best. Interestingly the Rhododendron plant was only introduced in Victorian times and became popular on many country estates for its ornamental appeal as well as a cover for game birds.


Something vital to be aware of when choosing plants for your own space is that this plant is an invasive one and that it’s spread from the garden into the wild is a serious threat to our own native forests. Maybe consider planting a smaller variety of this shrub, the chosen specimen here,  Rhododendron ‘Ahrends favorit’ is a lovely neat variety that is slow growing and will be no more than 60cm on height and spread. There are also some very pretty Azalea Rhododendrons that do very well in containers and have the same floriferous effect that is so beautifully displayed in the stunning Rhododrenron walk in Powerscourt.

Powerscourt House & Gardens is open-year round. For more information visit


Three more plants inspired by Powerscourt Gardens 

Powerscourt gardens have a fascinating mix of formality and informality so what about bringing a little bit of the Powerscourt magic into your own garden? Here are some ideas for more plants that will bring the feel of the garden of ireland to your own space.


Planning ahead now for next years border may seem premature but it’s always good to know what to plant. Tulip bulbs will go in in Autumn so make a plan now for a dazzling display. What about planting an elegant box hedge now to surround a bed that will become your border and then add the Tulips in Autumn. I love masses of one type of tulip interspersed with a few others. Maybe plant some large areas of pinks and purples inside the structured box hedge for an instant April wow effect.



The Japanese Maples in the sunken Japanese garden are stunning at most times of the year. The shapes of the trees is beautiful even in the Winter months and in summer they have lovely movement and lightness. It is in Autumn however that these trees really shine, when most specimens start turning stunning shades of gold, burnt oranges and crimson. Plant one of these in your own garden and every Autumn you’ll be delighted by the display.

Himalaya / Kashmir Birch (Betula jacquemontii) 

This tree is one of Powerscourt head gardener Michael Byrne’s favourites and no wonder with its stunning peeling creamy-white bark and beautiful multi-stem form. It has a great Autumn colour and is not only hardy but also suffers from little to no diseases. I think every garden should have at least one birch and if you have the space,  fully grown it will reach 18 metres in height and 10 metres in spread) this tree will be a stunning addition.


Leonie Love’s

Explore the Garden of Ireland in style

The gardens of Powerscourt have so much to explore and at this time of the year it is truly exploding with colour. One of my favourite parts of the gardens are the incredible Japanese gardens. These gardens slope into  a small rock filled valley with a Japanese Gazebo at the bottom the design. Elegant, understated and beautifully structured and maintained. This space is lovely to walk through, appealing to all senses from the scent of cool mosses at the water feature to the rustling of the breeze in the Acer leaves. If you feel like getting away and exploring the gardens in style then the luxury 5 star Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa which is located adjacent to Powerscourt House & Gardens is a great spot to set up camp. The hotel has stunning views of the Sugarloaf and  plenty of very cool outdoor spaces including an oversized chess board which is great fun to play. It is also conveniently located right beside the gardens which means you can wander over whenever you feel like it. For more info visit



Clamber up the steep slopes of the Sugarloaf

While you’re in Wicklow you simply can’t ignore one landmark. One of the most recognizable images of Wicklow is the mountain that is named the Sugar Loaf. Resting elegantly above the Bray coastline, this mountain is a popular destination for walkers and explorers. In the grand scale of things, the Sugarloaf isn’t a very tall mountain-it is only 501 metres high and yet is has a very majestic air about it. It is set in a stunning part of the country, surrounded by beautiful nature and many historical and natural highlights. I finally got to visit this mountain last year and the steep climb was worth it for the 360 degree views alone! It took us a while to find the actual approach to the mountain, the snaking road seemingly doubling back on itself.  This search brought us around to a parallel road which overlooked the mountain from a distance.  There were sheep and wild horses and an incredible vista which opened up right to look at the mountain and beyond. What is fascinating about this mountain is that though it looks almost like a volcano, according to Wikipedia, it is in fact an erosion-resistant metamorphosed sedimentary deposit from the deep sea and is are from Cambrian qaurtzite.  It’s a steep climb but well worth it! For more visit

Article By: Leonie Cornelius

Photos By: Colin Gillen

About Leonie: 

Over the past few years Leonie Cornelius has worked on many exciting private and commercial garden as well as interior and design projects. Her company Blume creates design that are extraordinary in approach and Leonie’s design philosophy is firmly rooted in the belief that beauty and harmony teamed with an ethical and sustainable approach are the highest achievement both within architecture and garden design.

Having established herself as one of Ireland’s leading garden designers, Leonie’s work on the RTE today show as the regular garden design expert as well as her mentoring and presenting on the RTE Supergarden show sees her work being broadcast to over half a million viewers.

Writing is another one of Leonie’s passions and her unique design skills and self proclaimed love of sharing creative ideas can be seen weekly in the Irish Independent Weekend Magazine which goes out to over 530,000 people as well as writing for other magazines.

Her Showgardens for Dubarry, the Leitrim Development Company and Supergarden have won many medals including two Gold medals, A best in category and Silver-Gilt. Find out more about Leonie.

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Topics: Powerscourt Gardens, Gardening, Wicklow

Sunday Afternoon at Powerscourt Gardens

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 13, 2016 1:40:44 PM

Climbing up trees, rolling down grassy banks, playing hide-and-seek, and climbing up more trees — this is what an afternoon trip to Powerscourt Gardens looks like for Annette Kelly and her family! 

After exploring and playing around the colourful Walled Garden, the tranquil Dolphin Pond and the sylvan Rhododendron Walk, they visited the magical Japanese Gardenand Tower Valley.

There, below the majestic, century-old trees, the lawns were carpeted with delicate bluebells. Further up, the Pepperpot Tower was modelled on a favourite pepperpot from Lord Powerscourt’s dining table!

See below for beautiful photos of their visit. For similar articles and more awesome images, check out Annette's blog 'Four Acorns'




































Thanks Annette! It looks like you all had a fantastic day at Powerscourt. Visit Annette's blog for more great articles.

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Wicklow

Dutch group visit Powerscourt House & Gardens - Wicklow People

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 11, 2016 11:08:12 AM

Representatives of one of the biggest tour operators in the Netherlands, de Jong Intra Vakanties, along with 16 of its top-producing travel agents, have been enjoying some of the beautiful sights of Co Wicklow during their trip to Ireland.

The group were here on a fact-finding visit as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. As part of their itinerary, they paid a visit to Powerscourt House and Gardens in Enniskerry which was one of the highlights of their visit.


Dutch travel agents visiting Ireland including (front, l-r) Meta Buchner, Sofie Van De Kerchf, Miranda Kogman, Marye Peters and Martyn Van Lienen; and (back, l-r) Femie Hazewintel, Mayola Gitmans, Laura Geux, Tessa Harmsen, Josephine Bibo, Jacqueline Van Howen, Renee Hawermans and Cindy Van de Wiel, with Linda Veeke and Diny Kouwigzen, both de Jong Intra Vakanties

The aim of the visit was to expose them to some of the many superb tourist offerings the country has to offer so that, when they return home, they can better advise their clients about holidaying in Ireland.

Karen van der Horst, Tourism Ireland's Manager the Netherlands, said: 'Fact-finding visits like this are an important element of our work with the travel trade in the Netherlands, as the travel agents get to experience at first-hand what's on offer here for Dutch holidaymakers - helping them to sell the destination with more enthusiasm and expertise when they return home.'

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Topics: Gardening

Dahlia Masterclass with Christopher White

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 9, 2016 11:58:55 AM

Join Christopher White, one of Ireland’s foremost dahlia growers, floral designers and demonstrators for a fascinating talk on the beautiful Dahlia plant.


As Chairperson of the Irish Dahlia Society Christopher knows his stuff! Selling dahlias to botanic gardens all over the world, Christopher specialises in exhibition dahlias and garden varieties. He is an award winning grower and floral designer and a medal winner at Bloom and Chelsea every year since 2010.


This dahlia workshop is suitable for both experienced and beginner dahlia growers. Learn about growing and cultivating Dahlias, staking and planting, how to look after them and pest control.


The talk takes place on Saturday 14th of May at 2pm in Powerscourt Garden Pavilion in Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow. Limited tickets are available and must be booked in advance on their website:

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Topics: Powerscourt Garden Pavilion, Gardening

Powerscourt Distillery Granted Planning for New Distillery Plans for €10m Whiskey Investment

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on May 4, 2016 4:48:36 PM

Powerscourt Distillery has been granted planning permission for the construction of a craft distillery and visitor centre at Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.

Powerscourt Distillery CEO and Co-Founder Gerry Ginty said:

“We are delighted with the planning permission granted for this unique and ambitious project. Whiskey from Powerscourt Distillery will be recognised for its authenticity and unique taste. We will combine certified mineral water from the Estate with barley grown on the Estate to create something that is extra special. In essence it will be the ultimate Irish whiskey, created from barley to bottle on Powerscourt Estate.”

Powerscourt Distillery is a joint venture with Powerscourt Estate, supported by an agreement with the Slazenger family to locate the distillery on the estate, which has an 800 year history stretching back to a castle built in the 13th century. The Slazengers are the owners and custodians of Powerscourt Estate and Gardens, developing it into a hugely popular tourist attraction, with over 500,000 visitors each year and visitor numbers to the gardens from both the US and China rising over 49% and 39% respectively in the past year alone.


Sarah Slazenger, Managing Director of Powerscourt Estate said:

“We are very pleased to see this key milestone achieved and look forward to progressing the development of this exciting new venture for the Estate which will help attract more visitors to Powerscourt who are interested in seeing authentic Irish craft excellence brought to life.”

The project will refurbish the Estate’s old mill house into a world-class distillery set against the stunning backdrop of the Sugar Loaf Mountain and Powerscourt’s award-winning gardens. Master Distiller Roy Court will mix barley grown in the surrounding fields with certified mineral water from Powerscourt Estate’s well, using traditional pot still techniques. Powerscourt Distillery will create a portfolio of unique whiskeys that will stand out in the rapidly growing Irish whiskey market.

 Local entrepreneurs Gerry Ginty and Ashley Gardiner are co-founders of the new venture and are planning a €10m investment that will create 30 jobs in the construction phase and 18 full-time jobs once the business is fully operational.

At full production the distillery will have the potential to produce over 1 million bottles of whiskey per year. By early 2018 the first batch of whiskey will be distilled and placed in oak casks to mature. Bord Bia forecast demand to quadruple in size to over 24m cases worldwide by 2030 and Powerscourt Distillery plans to capitalise on the rapidly growing international demand for Irish whiskey.

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt House

Visit Kilternan Country Market This Weekend

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Apr 25, 2016 4:16:58 PM

Nearby to Powerscourt is the lovely village of Kilternan which has a fantastic country market! In this blog post we explore the market and see what it has to offer!

Kilternan Country Market has a rich history of over 50 years and situated in Kilternan opposite The Golden Ball pub. The market is open every Saturday morning from 10am to 12pm. They offer locally produced, home-cooked, home-grown, high-quality produce and unique crafts.


It has become an institution, beloved by members and friends. It is a sort of Saturday morning club where producers and customers meet for their morning coffee and chat. When you step through our doors you will be greeted with a friendly smile, a community spirit and a host of sumptuous home-baked goods, additive-free meals, wholesome jams and chutneys, organic chickens, free-range eggs, locally grown vegetables, healthy plants, stunning flowers, beautiful crafts and an inviting café.


Almost everything is from, or made within, 10 miles of the premises and the market prizes itself on its fresh food and fresh produce at a good price. It is also special for the way it operates. On the way in you are given a docket on which all your purchases are marked and a single payment is made on the way out.

As the Irish Times said: "This is a hub of warm chatter and friendliness where newcomers are very welcome, and it’s a sign of a community that knows how to guide the future with values that, happily, have not been left in the past."


A short history of the Market:

Kilternan Country Market is a co-operative market for members’ farm, garden and home produce as well as traditional crafts. The Market is a member of Irish Country Markets Ltd which is closely allied to the Irish Countrywomen's Association. The market started in 1964 following a meeting organised by Michael Bermingham. The first committee was formed shortly afterwards. Some of the founders are still active members like Robin and Olive Pierce and Willie Doyle. The first building was constructed by Bermingham and Joe Pierce using recycled timber from Trinity College and a “bucket of crooked nails”. Since 1968 the current building stands near the original location, opposite The Golden Ball pub on the Enniskerry Road, and is owned by the members.


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Topics: Wicklow

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