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The Powerscourt Blog

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.

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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

Gardens of the Gods Historical Walking Tour of Powerscourt Gardens with John Ducie

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Apr 20, 2016 11:10:06 AM

Gardens of the Gods

Historical Walking Tour of Powerscourt Gardens with John Ducie

Be transported back in time by John Ducie, garden expert and historian, in a guided walking tour of Powerscourt Gardens and the wider landscape beyond in County Wicklow on 4th of May at 11am. 

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  • Hear stories behind the creation of one of the world’s greatest gardens; the amassing of its collection of ancient Roman and Greek statues and German, English, Italian and French art works. Learn about the themes of the works and how they came to be located in Wicklow.
  • Discover the secrets of its design and of the lives of talented architects, builders and gardeners who made it all possible.
  • Learn about how the garden and house were used in the past
  • Find out about the owners and their contributions to Ireland and the world, including the modern games of golf and tennis and the shaping of Irish identity and landscape.
  • Marvel at the rich plant life, find out about its skilful use and discover the world famous collection of rare and beautiful trees.

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The cost of the event is included in the entry price to Powerscourt Gardens and is free for Powerscourt members. To book tickets visit, www.powerscourt.com/events.

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.

 

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Events, Powerscourt House, Wicklow

Adventurer to Aristocrat

Posted by Brenda Comerford on Mar 22, 2016 12:42:03 PM

Adventurer to Aristocrat

richard_wingfield.jpgRichard Wingfield 1st Viscount Powerscourt

On a beautiful Spring day like today the view of the Sugar Loaf from Powerscourt is simply breathtaking and it is easy to forget what a rugged and dangerous landscape the Wicklow Mountains seemed to the first Lord Powerscourt. The majestic Sugar Loaf Mountain had for centuries been a landmark for scholars and pilgrims travelling to and from the monastic city of Glendalough.  In 1603 it towered over a very different pilgrim and his battle hardened soldiers, seeking not spiritual enlightenment but land on which to build a dynasty. 

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After a long ride from Dublin through dangerous territory, constantly under threat from the native Irish inhabitants still loyal to their Gaelic chieftains, Richard and his men must have been exhausted as they crested the hill to look upon the breath taking vista of his new land grant. Seeing before him land to cultivate and “plant” with loyal subjects of the Crown his resilience and courage, over decades of fighting his way across Europe on behalf of the English Crown, had finally bore fruit. Almost sixty and still nursing some old battle wounds, his new estate, however beautiful, was based around a ruined castle and set in isolated, rugged terrain.  The Gaelic chieftains of Wicklow had fought and raided the rulers of Dublin century after century, from the Vikings to the Normans to the Elizabethan war lords like Richard, who wanted to subjugate this beautiful and lawless region on Dublin’s doorstep.

Knights, Nobles and Normans

 

The English Crown had claimed ownership of Ireland since 1175, but over the centuries the Norman lords had intermarried and united with the native Gaelic lords, and by the mid-14th century only the area around Dublin known as the Pale was truly loyal to the English Crown.  Powerscourt is an anglicisation of le Poer Court, Norman owners of the land in the first half of the 14th century, but the family lost the land after uniting against the Crown with the Gaelic chieftains.

“My Faithful and Beloved Soldier”

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There were many career soldiers like Richard with impressive military careers vying for the opportunity to impress Queen Elizabeth I and gain land and title.  It was a grand romantic gesture, as Sir Walter Raleigh did previously with his cloak, which elevated Richard above the other hungry, poetic courtiers in the eyes of the Virgin Queen.  When this wounded, loyal and successful subject was asked by his Queen how she should reward her “faithful and beloved soldier” he humbly replied “the scarf which Your Majesty wears will be sufficient reward for me”.  (Contrast this gesture with the Queen’s horror when she was presented with the pickled head of the Wicklow Chieftain Fiach McHugh O’Byrne).  In 1600 she made him Marshal of Ireland and he oversaw the defeat and exile of the Gaelic Lords and the carving up and “planting” of their lands with loyal British Protestants.  King James rewarded Wingfield's further triumphs against the Gaelic Lords on 29 June 1609 with the grant of the castle and manor of Powerscourt in perpetuity, replacing the 21 year lease dating from 1603.

Conquerors and Colonists

But land and glory in battle were not enough for this ambitious and accomplished soldier.  At almost seventy and without an heir to the amusement of his peers, he spent £2,000 purchasing the title of Viscount Powerscourt, a title which would die with him.  He clearly had faith in the Wingfield’s to follow who did indeed reclaim the title not once but twice and carved a world renowned estate from his wild, rugged land grants.

 

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt House, Wicklow, Elizabethan

Daniel O'Donnell & Friends St. Stephen's Day Showcase at Powerscourt House

Posted by Brenda Comerford on Jan 6, 2016 10:52:38 AM

Blog Post by Kerry Gordon

 

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It was an absolute pleasure to finish off my third year of blogging for Powerscourt Estate and Gardens with the wonderful opportunity to watch the filming of a St Stephen’s Day RTE TV special, Daniel O'Donnell and Friends. With Powerscourt House sparkling with festive glee it was a showcase of duets with Daniel and other performers - and a bit of magic and chat included too!

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Powerscourt House has often been used in major films and TV shows but there was something extraordinary about seeing Ireland’s beloved Daniel O’Donnell performing to a crowd of his wonderful fans. Great singers Shane Filan, Una Foden, Declan Nearney and Derek Ryan had the crowd singing and dancing.

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Kristina Rihanoff from Strictly Come Dancing performed the American Smooth one more time with Daniel, Keith Barry was up to trickery with Majella O’Donnell, Pat Shortt popped in to surprise us all and Packie Bonner was happy for a chat with his neighbour Daniel.

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Daniel O’Donnell’s supporters and fans are amongst the best in the world and the atmosphere was one of the warmest and happiest I have ever encountered.

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Daniel’s loyal fans proved their worth on St Stephen’s Day as Daniel O’Donnell and Friends, was the most watched entertainment show of the evening in Ireland with 391,200 viewers tuning in!

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Powerscourt looked beautiful and full of Christmas Joy. Thank you to RTE and Big Mountain Productions for a fabulous Christmas Special.

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Happy New Year!

Kerry

Daniel’s official website with details of his tour dates and fan club is here http://danielodonnell.org/

With thanks to http://www.bigmountainproductions.com/

You can watch the show on RTE Player http://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/daniel-odonnell-and-friends-30003756/10509708/

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 Powerscourt Gardens, followed by a tasty scone and pot of tea in Avoca at Powerscourt House. 

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

Making up for Midsummer at Powerscourt's Fairy Fest!

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jul 16, 2015 2:32:23 PM

I usually make a big fairy fuss at Midsummer, and for the past few years I've brought the girls on a magical picnic to 'the Fairy Forest' to celebrate. This Midsummer past, however, saw me chasing the sun into the west instead and not spending it with my girls at all! As I drove, I promised myself I would make it up to them as soon as possible. As luck would have it, the opportunity presented itself last week, when we were invited to attend the Fantastical Fairy Fest in Powerscourt Gardens 
We were looking forward to it immensely, but when the time came to leave last Sunday the weather looked like this:
There was rain. But not just a summer shower. There was full-on, torrential downpours with some thunder thrown in for good measure. We ran to the car anyway, with raincoats flung over our flower-crowned heads and crossed our fingers that some fairy magic might do the trick and bring back the sunshine.
Fairy Cousins Waiting for the Festival
As it happened, the good folk from Imaginosity, who were hosting the event, had had convinced the fairies to relocate their garden party indoors - into one of the beautiful rooms in Powerscourt house. There, we were welcomed by three fairies who helped their little guests to practice their fairy moves, make fairy soup, play rainbow games and make little wishes to tie to the wishing tree in the garden.
Lile, Sábha and their little cousin Elsie were absolutely enthralled throughout. 
They excitedly sought out the ingredients for the fairy soup under toadstools, sprinkled fairy dust, tickled toes under the rainbow parachute and carefully considered their wishes. 
After the fairy work was done we were escorted outside to hang our wishes on the fairy bush... in what we assumed would be more torrential rain - but no! The fairy magic had worked and there was glorious sunshine and gorgeous gardens to greet us. 
We spent the rest of our afternoon looking for water fairies in the lakes and fountains, looking for woodland fairies among the trees and and having a very lovely time indeed. 
We rounded off the afternoon with an ice-cream from the little kiosk in the courtyard and the three tired fairies went home very happy.
Powerscourt runs a year-round events programme including treasure hunts, guided walks, gardening workshops, bug hunts, theatre evenings and much more that all the family will enjoy. The Fantastical Fairy Fest event was a 30 minute interactive 'show'. It had a snappy pace that kept the sizable crowd of young children moving and engaged throughout. The event price also included entry to the gardens. My girls really enjoyed themselves and it was a gorgeous Summer 'day-out' that will be fondly remembered.
For more information about Powerscourt Gardens, one of the world's greatest gardens click HERE.
And check out their events page HERE
To read more things about Powerscourt that I have shared on this blog, click HERE and HERE.
To learn how to make a flower crown, like the ones my girls are wearing in the photos, click HERE!
This blog article is kindly re-produced from its original blog with permission from author Sadhbh Devlin. Check out Sadhbh's parenting blog http://wherewishescomefrom.blogspot.ie/ where she writes about seasonal celebrations, simple craft projects and the adventures she has with her girls. 
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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Guest Blog, Events, Powerscourt House

The Treasure Chest of Irish Tales

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Feb 17, 2015 10:21:59 AM

Enjoy a great family day out in the beautiful surrounds of Powerscourt House and Gardens on March 15th from 12.30-2.30pm. Imaginosity, Dublin Children's Museum has teamed up with Powerscourt to present a fun drama and story-telling workshop to celebrate Irish culture. Come along and discover what the Imaginosity storytellers pull out of their treasure chest this St Patrick’s Weekend!

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Exploring the exciting adventures of Finn Mac Cool and the Giant’s Causeway, The Salmon of Knowledge and the legendary hero Cuchulainn, children will be building a large Causeway, cooking a magical salmon and play the part of a brave hero in famous Irish legends. YOUR family can take part in this fun drama workshop which will truly bring the past to life!

This is an enjoyable introduction to Irish myths and legends for young children. The performance will include a range of props, musical instruments, storytelling and plenty of fun audience participation for the whole family!

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. Spend time as a family at Powerscourt this bank holiday weekend; from the Pet’s Cemetery to the Pepper Pot Tower, there is so much to see and explore! Advance booking is essential; you can book online through the Powerscourt Website.

 

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt House

A Celebration of Christmas at Powerscourt Estate

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Nov 5, 2014 2:43:39 PM

A Celebration of Christmas at Powerscourt Estate

Nothing says ‘Christmas’ like a visit to the atmospheric Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow with its tree-lined avenue, fir trees and majestic stately home! This year follow the star up the avenue at Powerscourt Estate where you will find a wonderful range of Christmas events for your family.

Christmas in Wicklow

 

Dating back 800 years, Powerscourt is an enchanting and beautiful place to bring your children. Enjoy a crisp winter walk in Powerscourt Gardens, where 47 acres of discovery and intrigue await. Experience the magic of our Unique and Memorable Santa and his elves and visit his animal friends including the deer and miniature donkeys at the Christmas Stables. Santa and his animals are at Powerscourt from 29th of November until the 23rd of December. Tickets to Santa cost €10 and can be booked online through www.powerscourt.com/events while there is no cost to visit his animals in the stables at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion.

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Popular Irish story-teller and actor Jack Lynch will be at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion on 6th of December at 2.30pm for Christmas Story-telling. Bring along your family and enjoy his repertoire of Christmas tales, from well-known stories to ones that may be new to you! Jack is a founder member and current chairman of Storytellers of Ireland and of the Dublin Yarnspinners.

Christmas in Wicklow

For the home and garden lover in your family, Powerscourt Garden Pavilion has some great Floral Art Classes to give your home the ‘Wow’ factor this Christmas! Using seasonal produce such as ivy and red berries, Orla McGrane and Brenda Joyce from the Association of Irish Floral Artists will create warming wreaths, gorgeous garlands and traditional table pieces to give your home that very personal touch. The talks take place on 19th and 26th of November and 3rd of December at 10.30am in Powerscourt Garden Pavilion and cost €5 per session. Tickets can be booked online in advance on www.powerscourtgardenpavilion.com/events.  There’s so much to see and discover with your family at Powerscourt this Christmas. For more information on upcoming events and whats on in wicklow visit www.powerscourt.com

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Garden Pavilion, Events, Powerscourt House, Wicklow

Coffee Morning for Bray Cancer at Powerscourt raises €1,223.97

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Oct 6, 2014 4:52:39 PM

Health & Wellness Coffee Morning in aid of Bray Cancer Support Centre

Over 120 people came to support a health and wellness morning at Powerscourt Garden Pavilion on 1st October and helped raise €1,223.97 in aid of Bray Cancer Support Centre.

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Guests enjoyed a lively morning starting with a talk from the centre’s founder Veronica O’Leary, who was recently honoured with a ‘Community Health Award’ at Wicklow’s People of the Year Awards. There were top tips on the health benefits of all things green including sprouts and wheatgrass from the Happy Pear’s grower Darragh Flynn and well-known nutritionist Isobel Jordan.

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Karl Tsigdinos from RTE’s Lyric FM spun a few sounds to a lively Fashion Show including the latest fashions from The Design Loft at Powerscourt Estate, Designer Liz Quin and Jenny Turner Boutique in Enniskerry Village.  Afterwards, guests relaxed at the ESPA nail bar, courtesy of the Powerscourt Hotel.

There was a fantastic raffle and lucky winners went home with prizes including a family membership for Powerscourt Estate, Christmas lanterns from the Garden Pavilion, jewellery from the Design loft, a deluxe Avoca hamper, vouchers for Estate and Global Village Stores in Powerscourt House and Jenny Turner Boutique, a Liz Quin coat and a Happy Pear juicer and cookery book set.

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To add some fun to the morning, there was a prize for the best dressed lady in purple, the official colour of the Bray Cancer Support Centre and the winner was Amanda Doyle.

All funds raised from the morning will go to Bray Cancer Support Centre's services in Wicklow and Dublin. Services include counselling, support programmes and complimentary therapies. To find out more visit
www.braycancersupport.ie  

 

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Garden Pavilion, Events, Powerscourt House

Global Village Interiors celebrates its 25th anniversary!

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Oct 6, 2014 9:46:00 AM

One of Ireland’s great design success stories, Global Village Interiors, celebrates its 25th anniversary this month – all thanks to a couple’s struggle to furnish their apartment! Global Village has two stores, one based in our very own Powerscourt House.

Husband and wife Martin and Colette Lenehan set out with a vision to introduce quality interior products to the Irish market in 1989, after a fruitless search to outfit their small home in the way they wanted. Over the last 25 years, Global Village has turned that vision into reality, becoming one of the few interiors businesses to survive and thrive during the recession.

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Their decision to become a flagship outlet for Neptune in Ireland established them as must-visit interiors destinations both in Powerscourt and KCR in Kimmage, which has the biggest range of Neptune products in Ireland. “We’ve always had a thing about quality, value and the unusual and, to this day, we don’t compromise on our values," said Martin.

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The first Global Village shop opened in Glasthule, Co Dublin offering an eclectic mix of ethnic style furniture and accessories such as Afghan chests and Chinese Ming Dynasty-style sideboards. “Although our customers in the area appreciated what we did, we realised that if we were going to advance the business we had to change our business model to attract more customers,” said Martin. The company then moved to bigger premises in the Blackrock Centre where their passion for quality products and great customer service quickly became known. "The Blackrock store became a haunt for designers, architects and customers with a passion for interiors, which is where the brand really started to take off," said Colette.

With the opening of their two present showrooms in Powerscourt House (1999) and KCR in 2005, Global Village Interiors became synonymous with an individual style of quality and quirky interior products. It was their decision-making during the recession that was to be the making of the company. “The furniture business was falling off a cliff and we knew we couldn’t continue to do the same thing or we wouldn’t survive,” said Martin. “That’s when we discovered Neptune – a high-end company who shared the values we really looked for in furniture.  “Neptune furniture is out on its own – high quality, handmade, solid wood. This is furniture with soul. It’s good to use, to feel, to touch and everything about the product is emotive. "Global Village's motto is quality never goes out of style, and even in a depressed market we invested heavily in our showrooms. As a result, we now have the biggest range of Neptune products in Ireland under one roof in the KCR showroom."

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Martin and Colette admit it’s been difficult to separate their home and work life as they have lived, slept and breathed what they do, especially over the last five years. It’s that passion and love for Interior Design that has kept them in business. “The real reward for us is to see customers genuinely fall in love with their homes,” said Collette. “We have 25 years’ experience in the interiors business, and customers can get that for free. We also provide a full interior design service. “My advice to a consumer who wants a nice home is to get professional advice, talk to someone who knows what they’re doing. They do it once or twice in their lives – we do this every day."

To find out more about Global Village, visit their website.

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

Meet our Head Gardener Michael Byrne

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jul 9, 2014 12:21:00 PM

Meet our Head Gardener Michael Byrne!

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

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

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How long have you been the head gardener at Powerscourt?

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

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How do you maintain the gardens? 

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

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How do the gardens change throughout the year?

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

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

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

 

What is your favourite area of the gardens?

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

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