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The Powerscourt Blog

Chapterhouse Theatre Company presents Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – July 2018

Posted by Catherine Day on Jul 20, 2018 3:16:29 PM

The Walled Garden at Powerscourt Estate and Gardens was the beautiful setting for the return of Chapterhouse Theatre to Ireland this weekend, for a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon of Mad Hatter madness with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

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The atmosphere was wonderful with families of all generations spread out on picnic blankets, smiling and laughing, with the odd shower of rain that no one minded. This new telling of an old classic, with songs and puppetry, is a trademark of Chapterhouse Theatre and its brilliant cast of young actors. The show itself was very funny and engaging and watching Alice and her adventure in such a beautiful setting made it impossible to not be taken away and drawn into the story telling. Kids were enthralled to be invited to the Mad Hatters Tea Party and roared with laughter at some of characters.

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The interval allows time for a visit to Avoca to buy snacks, drinks or ice creams. Its an incredibly relaxing setting and I would highly recommend outside theatre productions as an introduction to any new theatre goers. The Walled Garden is an intimate, safe and welcoming environment and included in the ticket price is free entry to the world class Powerscourt Gardens.

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Make sure you come and see them next summer – a really lovely afternoon going down the rabbithole with Alice.

 
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Topics: Events, Powerscourt Gardens, Chapterhouse Theatre, Alice in Wonderland, Powerscourt Estate

Making the World Mobility Friendly

Posted by Lucy Wyndham on Jun 14, 2018 1:20:22 PM

Access For All At Powerscourt Estate

Everyone at Powerscourt Estate was enormously proud when National Geographic voted the gardens the third best in the entire world. When you consider the other spectacular sights that form the National Geographic top ten, it gives you an inkling of just how special the gardens at Powerscourt really are.

With that in mind, it has always been top of the agenda to ensure the beauty and majesty of the gardens, not to mention the other attractions at Powerscourt, can be enjoyed by everyone. Providing access to all, regardless of mobility issues is a topic that is rightfully attracting more and more attention across the globe. At Powerscourt, it is something we have been working on for a number of years and has resulted in the house and gardens being ranked among the best on Ireland’s Mobility Mojo website.

Visiting the waterfall by wheelchair

At 121 metres (398 feet) Powerscourt waterfall is the highest in Ireland. It, and the scenic river walk leading up to it are among the most popular visitor attractions in the country and the waterfall makes the perfect backdrop for a picnic on a summer’s day. If the word “walk” causes concern, don’t let it. The path to the waterfall is wide and easily traversed by wheelchair, and you can even drive the car right next to the waterfall itself - it means even those with the most severe mobility challenges can enjoy its beauty.

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House and shop

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Powerscourt House might have a history dating back 800 years, but it is completely modern when it comes to meeting mobility needs. Wheelchair users can be dropped off at the door, and the house is fully accessible. There are disabled toilets throughout, and there is even a lift to allow those in wheelchairs to get up to the ballroom. The cafe and shop are similarly easy to access, and there are even wheelchairs available for use on the day - booking in advance is recommended, just to be on the safe side.

 

 

The Gardens

So what of those magnificent gardens that received such an accolade? There are some areas that have steep steps, but these need not detract from anyone and everyone’s ability to enjoy the gardens at Powerscourt to the full. A clearly marked disabled route will guide wheelchair users around the property and ensure they do not miss a thing.

 

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A right, not a privilege

The ability to access and enjoy facilities is a basic right that applies to everyone, regardless of their mobility. This is a principle that is taken deadly seriously at Powerscourt, and you can be sure that whatever your personal circumstances, you will be able to enjoy everything this historic estate has to offer.

More information on our accessibility is available on our website at: https://powerscourt.com/plan-your-visit/accessibility

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Topics: Powerscourt Gardens, Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt House, Powerscourt Waterfall, Accessiblity, Mobility

The Gardens at Christmas

Posted by Catherine Day on Jan 2, 2018 11:53:00 AM

The Gardens at Powerscourt are beautiful at any time of year, but the chaning seasons adds another dimension. Kerry Gordon, a regular guest blogger for us, captures the beauty of the Gardens in the winter sun before the new year sets in.

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The house, shining in the golden sunlight, is reflected in the detailed gilding of the gates.

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The pond around the Japanese Gardens looks frozen in the shaded garden.

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Triton Lake glistens while the winged horse rises into the fading daylight.

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Late afternoon shadows stretch to the golden hued house.

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The upper terrace casts its shadows.

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Headed home...

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Topics: Powerscourt Gardens, Powerscourt Estate, Guest Blog

Ho Ho Ho Santa is coming to Powerscourt House!

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Oct 2, 2017 10:19:28 AM

We hope you’ve been good this year, because the Big Guy is coming back. From the 25th November to the 23rd December inclusive, Mr Claus himself (and his elves too) will be at Avoca in Powerscourt House, Enniskerry County Wicklow awaiting your visit.

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While the adults relax with a coffee or snack in the Terrace Café, the little ones will be enchanted to meet Santa and his elves - even Santa’s animals will be there at the stables in Powerscourt Garden Pavilion. From deer, miniature donkeys and pygmy goats to rabbits and guinea pigs, children and adults alike will enjoy a visit to the stables, free of charge.

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Of course, as well as Santa, there’s fabulous gift shopping, delicious food and free parking, plus the beautiful Powerscourt Gardens where you can finish off your visit with a crisp winter walk. All Santa bookings come with an exclusive offer of a promotional Family Ticket price to the Powerscourt Gardens.

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Tickets cost €10 and are non-refundabe. They can be booked online from Monday 9th October. Make sure you’re signed up to our mailing list on our home-page to get alerts!

Santa tickets may only be purchased online from the Avoca website via this link from October 9th. All sales are final.

Once transaction complete, no refunds, cancellations or exchanges will be accepted.

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Topics: Events, Santa, Powerscourt Garden Pavilion, Powerscourt Gardens, Powerscourt House

Powerful Powerscourt celebrates record visitor numbers

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jun 28, 2017 10:15:00 AM

Powerscourt Estate is celebrating record visitor numbers in 2016 as 467,000 guests visited Powerscourt Gardens and Waterfall over the past 12 months. This represents a +14% increase on 2016 visitor numbers and confirms Powerscourt Estate’s place as the most visited paid tourist attraction in County Wicklow. 271,000 people visited Powerscourt Gardens in 2016, up +9% over the previous year, while visitors to Powerscourt Waterfall were up by +21% at 195,000.

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These strong results place Powerscourt Estate as the 9th most popular tourism destination in Ireland according to Failte Ireland’s recent list of the best performing tourist attractions. The Guinness Storehouse and the Cliffs of Moher are the top 2 tourism attractions in the country.

Visitors from Ireland to Powerscourt Gardens were up by +34% while visitors from China grew by 47%, making them the third-most important market in terms of visitors to the gardens.

Powerscourt is a popular location for TV series and films. Productions shot on the estate over the past year include the historical drama ‘Vikings’ and BBC spin-off, ‘Kat & Alfie: Redwater.’ Travel and lifestyle programmes recently filmed at Powerscourt include “Destination: The Emerald Isle” which aired in the USA on ABC live to 3 million people in February and BBC’s Great British Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo which enjoyed 1.8 million viewers. Publicity opportunities such as these help raise awareness of County Wicklow as a tourism destination and bring more tourism business to the surrounding areas.

Celebrating the record number of visitors achieved, Sarah Slazenger, Managing Director of Powerscourt Estate commented: "2016 confirmed that Powerscourt Gardens & Waterfall continue to be among the must-see visitor attractions in Ireland. With exciting new businesses in the pipeline including Powerscourt Distillery and the Cool Plant Experience, the estate’s offering and appeal continues to grow each year.”

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Topics: Powerscourt Gardens, Powerscourt Waterfall, Powerscourt Estate

New RTÉ Painting Programme Filmed at Powerscourt Estate

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Oct 12, 2016 11:34:54 AM

Wicklow’s very own Powerscourt Gardens & Waterfall was the location for the debut episode of RTE’s Painting the Nation, a TV programme which uncovers and showcases the best amateur painting talent across the island of Ireland. Produced by Independent Pictures for RTÉ and presented by Pauline McLynn, the show’s finalists include carpenters, geologists, full-time mums, students and grannies who share a dream of painting for a living.

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After completing their challenges, a still life and painting drapery, in the Ballroom of Powerscourt House the painters were taken to the spectacular Powerscourt Waterfall. Following in the footsteps of some of Ireland’s greatest landscape painters, they captured the waters tumbling over the iconic Wicklow Mountains into the valley. It was a great opportunity to showcase this iconic ‘Garden of Ireland’ tourism attraction to tourists nationwide.

Over 50 different movies and TV series have been shot at Powerscourt Estate since Laurence Olivier started the trend by filming Henry V there in 1944. Since then films including The Count of Monte Cristo and King Arthur and chart-topping TV series Vikings and Penny Dreadful have been filmed here. To follow ‘Painting the Nation’ tune into RTÉ 1 Television on Sundays at 7.30pm.

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Topics: Powerscourt Gardens, Powerscourt Waterfall

Meet Lord Powerscourt and Sarah and Alex Slazenger in our new short movie!

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Sep 22, 2016 2:20:19 PM

Beautiful Powerscourt Gardens in County Wicklow has launched a wonderful new short film and new audio guides about the gardens, narrated personally by the 2 families and owners of Powerscourt over the past 400 years. Voted the third most beautiful garden in the world by National Geographic, Powerscourt is a classical oasis hidden in the wilds of Wicklow.

In the film you will meet Anthony Wingfield, Lord Powerscourt and Alex Slazenger, the Head Gardener. Their cousin Sarah Slazenger, Managing Director also appears on the video making this a first-hand, warm experience of what Powerscourt means to them. From fascinating family characters through to everyday tasks in the gardens, the audio guides provide a wonderful behind the scenes glimpse of life at Powerscourt.

The audio guides are available now in English, Spanish, German, French & Chinese.

So how did the impressive Powerscourt Mansion come to be built?

And just who had the vision to create the spectacular gardens?

Join Sarah, Alex and Anthony as they share family stories with you that have been passed down for generations.

Start your Powerscourt journey today by watching the short video below and enjoy the audio guides when you next visit Powerscourt Gardens.

 

 

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Topics: Gardening, Wicklow, Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens

Four Wheeled Wonders at Powerscourt Gardens

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Aug 2, 2016 3:45:57 PM

Step back in time and admire various vintage vehicles at Powerscourt, part of Ireland’s ancient east. The Irish Veteran and Vintage Car Club is back for its 39th year at Powerscourt to celebrate the most beautiful period cars in Ireland and share their members’ collections with you. Everyone is welcome to come along and enjoy the display in the historic setting of Powerscourt’s walled gardens on the 1,000 acre estate in County Wicklow on Sunday 21st of August from 2 to 4.30pm. Vehicles of all eras and styles will be in attendance, alongside their owners, who are always delighted to tell visitors about their beloved classics.

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FIVA, the international federation of historic vehicles, has named 2016 as World Motoring Heritage Year – both in recognition of motoring history, and to celebrate a new dawn for the historic vehicle movement throughout the world. There will be over 125 historic vehicles covering a vast array of motoring history at the event in Powerscourt.

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Everyone is welcome to come dressed to impress in their best vintage clothes! The event costs €25 for a family of 5 and includes entry to Powerscourt Gardens. For tickets and more information visit www.powerscourt.com/events

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Topics: Events, Wicklow, Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens

Meet Alex, Head Gardener at Powerscourt

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jul 29, 2016 3:58:45 PM

Over the next few months we will meet the people behind the scenes at Powerscourt who keep the estate looking wonderful and provide a great welcome to our visitors. This week we meet Powerscourt's Head Gardener Alex who grew up at Powerscourt Estate and has had a love of the gardens here from a young age. 

Tell us a little about how you got into gardening – what inspired you and have you always loved plants / seeing things thrive and grow?

My first gardening job was to pull ragwort out of the field beside where I live now when I was about 7. My aunt Wendy paid us a rate of one penny per ragwort pulled. Gardening wise I didn’t have a big garden but I was always outside building bases and trees and wigwams. I was happiest outdoors as a child with my playground being the gardens and river walk. Because I had access to the gardens and the river walk and a massive amount of outdoor space without realising this set in motion my desire to spend time outside as a career – I thought this is something that I can do for the rest of my life. What I was happiest doing as a child – being outside – led to landscaping, gardening and a love of watching things grow and develop.

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Was there a single moment when you knew that you wanted gardening to be your full time profession?

I was 11 and I was going around my mother’s garden and being a bold kid. I was whipping flower heads with a bamboo cane and my mother came out and roared at me and she chased me as far as the river walk and I got in a lot of trouble! From that moment on I started to respect plants and flowers and that’s when I decided to look after rather than destroy them!

Have you ever worked on estate gardens before?

I worked as a landscaper in Glencree for 3 years and then as gardener in a private garden for many years. While studying for my degree in horticulture at the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin I began working at Powerscourt and have worked here intermittently for the past 5 years. I became Head Gardener of Powerscourt 1 year ago.

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Are there different considerations for looking after such a huge estate space rather than smaller garden spaces? 

It is the same concept but there is a lot more to prioritise on a large estate. Time management is crucial as it takes a lot of time for tasks compared to a smaller space. For example, a rose bed here is four times as large as one from an average garden.

Are there any gardening jobs that require constant attention on the estate?

The roses, the herbaceous border and the formal gardens all require constant attention. High maintenance areas include the Italian Gardens which have straight lines and have to be perfect – we are constantly cutting the grass there.

How big is your team?

There are 6 permanent staff including myself and we take on 2 seasonal staff each summer.

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What is the main priority for the estate grounds during each of the seasons?

In spring our priority is pruning work, lifting and dividing herbaceous perennials and feeding. In summer there are more routine tasks including grass cutting, dead heading and wedding. In autumn we focus on planting, mulching, planting bulbs and winter bedding. In winter we work mostly on projects such as developing and maintaining paths, hard landscaping and tree work.

What should we look out for, plant wise on the estate this year? 

In Spring Powerscourt is full of vibrant colour with our annual tulip festival featuring over 10,000 tulips in bloom. Daffodils and crocuses bring colour to the gardens each spring. In late spring the Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Camellias make their appearance. In summer herbaceous flowers come into bloom, roses and summer flowering shrubs. In winter, winter jasmine, daphnes and evergreen trees add interest to the gardens.

Do you tend to draw up schedules and plans for work on Powerscourt Estate?

I do a weekly plan. Each season I have a target list of tasks to get through. Whether it’s a clearing the lakes, working on the trees or cleaning antique statuary, it’s a very varied job.

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What is your biggest challenge when dealing with Powerscourt Gardens?

My biggest challenge is keeping the quality of the gardens at its peak at all times. We plan our gardening tasks around our opening hours so that certain jobs can be completed outside of visiting hours to maximise the enjoyment of our visitors. We are very weather dependent and the weather can play havoc with managing the gardens. A weekly plan can go out the window when it rains and also when it doesn’t rain!

What’s your favourite part of working on the Estate grounds?

I love the herbaceous border. There is a dramatic change along the border when spring arrives and the plants and shrubs come into bloom. It looks entirely different in July than it does in December – the border is an incredible sight to behold at its best in summer.

One favourite garden fact

Biophilia – The biophilia hypothesis suggests that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems. As humans we depend upon nature and need to interact with and be part of it. We thrive as human beings when we have access to greenery and enjoy our natural surroundings. It is a very current trend as people are developing an ever increasing love of gardening and an appreciation for the environment.

How can visitors help the establishment of the gardens at Powerscourt?

Our members and other regular visitors to Powerscourt are very helpful to us in terms of both positive and negative feedback about the estate. They are a vital part of the estate and are committed to keeping is as the peaceful haven it is for so many people. They act as an extra pair of eyes for us and are really helpful. As gardeners we are focused on the tasks at hand and trying to tackle the gardening challenges before us. As leisure visitors to the estate, our visitors offer a fresh perspective to us. We always appreciate getting feedback.

Thanks Alex! We will continue this interview with Alex next week, before meeting our other team members soon :)

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Topics: Wicklow, Gardening, Head Gardener's Blog, Powerscourt Gardens

Heavenly Herbaceous Border Garden Walk and Talk at Powerscourt Gardens

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jul 26, 2016 2:19:12 PM

Blog and photos by Kerry Gordon

Alex Slazenger, Head Gardener at Powerscourt Gardens, is a passionate gardener and horticultural innovator with a wealth of knowledge. It was with great fortune that I joined his guided walk and talk set in the vibrant herbaceous border within the walled garden in Powerscourt Gardens. It was to be two wonderful hours learning, enjoying and chatting about the wonder of this border created many years ago and now being nurtured by Alex and his team.

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The restored Venetian Gates where Alex played as a child

At the entrance to the herbaceous border Alex showed us the stunning Venetian Gates which have been painstakingly restored to their optimum beauty. They are magnificent and perfectly frame the beauty of the plants inside and the renovation of the gates has opened up the garden which truly emphasises that this is the biggest herbaceous border in Ireland. With a twinkle in his eyes Alex told us how as child, for his family have owned Powerscourt House and Estate for many years now, he used to climb inside the gates. It was a delightful glimpse into what it must be like to grow up as a child with one of the world’s most famous gardens as your playground.

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Great questions and chats

The stunning herbaceous border within the walled garden is 120 metres long with over 700 varieties of plants, many introduced from around the world in the late 19th century. There is a strong theme of purple within the border which is balanced with underlying yellow bursts of colour and a rainbow of plants of all colours, shapes and sizes that creates a beautiful and soothing environment. In the time of the Viscounts it would have been predominately a kitchen garden with many of the flowers cut to be displayed in Powerscourt House. The border naturally flourishes throughout March to September but with clever techniques Alex and his team are able to extend the seasons.  Many of these plants thrive due to the Irish climate creating this stunning herbaceous border.

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Eryngium

Alex was a passionate guide and explained how gardens evolve, learning by your mistakes and the process of planning your garden. His advice was invaluable and his willingness to answer every question asked was very charming. He is a great advocate of biophillia and talked passionately about the benefits of feeling the soil and earth in your hands.  here is clearly a great passion amongst Alex and his five permanent staff who cultivate and maintain this historic part of our heritage that is truly one of the world’s greatest gardens.

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Vibrant colours along the border

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Heavenly herbaceous border

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Alex, Head Gardener at Powerscourt

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A Eucomis, more commonly known as a pineapple plant or flowers

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Alstroemeria are often used for cut flower displays in the house as they are a long lasting flower

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Meet Roger as Alex and the team call their Rodgersia!

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Rosemary who is usually found hard at work nurturing the border

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 kerry.gordon@gmail.com or @kerrymgordon on Twitter.

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Topics: Events, Gardening, Wicklow, Powerscourt Gardens