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The Powerscourt Blog

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

Snowy Mother’s Day at the Powerscourt Waterfall

Posted by Catherine Day on Mar 14, 2018 9:02:00 AM

We didn’t expect to still find snow at the Powerscourt Waterfall. After all, a week after Ireland’s heaviest snow event in a decade, the white stuff was already long gone from our seaside town.

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Yet only a few kilometres inland, in the Wicklow Mountains, the narrow windy roads were swamped with gushing melt water and lined with piles of dirty snow left by the clearing operations.

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On that mild, damp Mother’s Day, the acorns were dressed for the weather, wearing their full rain gear and their wellies, as they like wading in the river. But no gloves to play in the snow at the Powerscourt Waterfall!

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Following the obligatory first stage at the wonderful playground, we made our way to the waterfall. The vast picnic field around it was all but flooded under deep banks of melting snow. Not to be deterred by the icy temperature, the acorns literally filled their boots jumping and running through the slushy puddles.

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The highest waterfall in Ireland, heavy with melt water from the Wicklow Mountains, was more powerful than we’ve ever seen it, roaring and crashing and spraying the swollen river in a thick veil of mist.

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Further downstream, the acorns had a snowball fight with Brian, gloves or no gloves! They raced clumps of snow through a drainpipe under the path, checking how much had melted when they reached the other side.

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Finally, it took a huge team effort to lift a heavy lump of snow off the riverbank and into the fast-flowing water. As it slowly melted away in the current, we followed it downstream all the way to the little wooden bridge that we discovered on our previous visit, last October.

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With the trails beyond the bridge still closed due to the snow, we made our way back to the car. Winter certainly lingers in Wicklow, but seeing the acorns happily play in the snow at the Powerscourt Waterfall was the ideal Mother’s Day gift!

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About the Guest Blogger

Annette is French, married to an Irish man, and they live in Wicklow with their four bilingual children. She blogs in English and French at Four Acorns / Quatre graines de chêne to inspire families to unplug, go outside and reconnect with nature and with each other. http://www.fouracorns.ie

 

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Waterfall, Four Acorns, Snow 2018

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 Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Powerscourt Waterfall

Autumn colours at Powerscourt Waterfall

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Nov 22, 2016 12:11:11 PM

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Few places are more beautiful than the Powerscourt Waterfall, Co Wicklow, on a sunny autumn day. Ireland’s highest waterfall (121m/398ft) has become a kind of pilgrimage for us – twice a year at least, we visit the stunning parkland at the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains.

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This time, my 5-year-old’s best friend came along, with his mum and younger brother, during mid-term. As soon as he had heard the name ‘Powerscourt’, he pleaded to go and play on the toy diggers in the playground’s sandpit. All plans to visit the Powerscourt Gardens in all their autumn splendour were quickly shoved aside.

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As often when we go to the waterfall, the children played for ages on the fantastic playground, digging, swinging and climbing to their hearts’ content. 

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Then we walked to the waterfall itself. It was as majestic as ever, its blue waters flowing over jet-black rocks, with the whole gamut of autumn colours on the surrounding trees.

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About

Annette is a blogger exploring Ireland’s great outdoors with four children and a camera. She is French, married to an Irish man, and they live in beautiful county Wicklow.

http://www.fouracorns.ie

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Topics: Powerscourt Waterfall, Wicklow

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

Sensory Nature Trail at Powerscourt Waterfall Review

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

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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:  http://www.wherewishescomefrom.com/ 

"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

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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. 

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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! 

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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. 

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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.

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

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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...

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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: http://www.wherewishescomefrom.com/ 

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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.

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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.

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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 www.powerscourt.com/events
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Topics: Events, Powerscourt Waterfall, Wicklow

Nature Detectives at Powerscourt Waterfall - A Review!

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jun 8, 2015 12:58:59 PM

I love Powerscourt Waterfall and have been there a few times over the last couple of years with the children; however, we haven’t been there as a family for over four years. So I was delighted when we were invited to attend the Imaginosity event ‘Nature Detectives’ at Powerscourt Waterfall yesterday!

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We intended on arriving early and having a quick play at the playground before meeting up with the Imaginosity team by ‘the big tree’ as instructed on the ticket. Of course, best laid plans meant that we arrived breathless and just in time. I was smiling brightly and trying to ignore the - ‘I am too old for this’ and ‘talk about a good walk ruined’ comments from our eldest and Mr Dad.

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Quite aptly for the weekend that was in it, the meeting place was clearly marked by a bright rainbow coloured parachute which was laid out on the ground. Martina - one of the three Imaginosity staff present - welcomed us all warmly and chatted animatedly about our plans for the day. You could not help but be infused with a little of her boundless enthusiasm (which was still there at the end of the day, even when some brats children were getting  a little rambunctious).

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All the children were given a sheet of clues and a pencil, told where to start and what time to return and then we were off! It was all a bit crowded and manic at the start but by the time we had reached the third clue we had all spread out and were happily going at our own pace. Everyone, that is, except my boy Conan who is nothing if not competitive. He was bailing along following the trail and ticking off all the clues without a backward glance to us. Paul had to catch up with him and encourage him to wait for the rest of his team (a.k.a. his family) to catch up!

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Caoimhe, who was ‘too old’, didn’t take long to get into the spirit of things and was soon caught up in the trail and discovering a few fun facts that were laid out along the way. Did you know the air up at Powerscourt Waterfall is negatively charged, so breathing it in promotes a refreshed and relaxed feeling?? I do now!

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We fairly powered through the nature trail and discovered a few things that were not on the list, such as the Fairy Tree which was pointed out to us by Martina – the staff didn’t rest on their laurels but popped up here and there along the trail to keep us on track. Importantly, they also gave us space to enjoy ourselves as a family.

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The trail ended at the waterfall where we hung out for a while, climbing and exploring, before meeting back with the rest of the crew at the appointed time. Martina and crew had some samples of wild flowers and plastic insects and bugs which were laid out for the children to examine with magnifying glasses. Caoimhe and Conan delighted in putting  the bugs in the magnifying jar and examining them in great detail.

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The best part of the event, according to my children, were the games at the end; they got to have sack races and play organised games with the parachute, laughing and giggling throughout. The best part according to me was that the children really did stop to look at and examine the natural world around them.

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Then it was time to say goodbye to the very popular Imaginosity team who really did deserve medals (or at least an ice-cream). Our day didn’t end there. We headed up to the fantastic playground where the children played happily for a good hour before we shared a tub of candy floss and headed home, tired but happy.  We will definitely be making a few trips back there over the Summer!

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Disclaimer: We were invited to attend ‘Nature Detectives’ for the purpose of this review. However all thoughts and words are my own.

Aisling Lyons

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

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

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Guest Blog, Events, Powerscourt Waterfall, Wicklow

Nature Detectives at Powerscourt Waterfall

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

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

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

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

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Events, Powerscourt Waterfall

Powerscourt Estate celebrates strong visitor numbers in 2014

Posted by Aoife O'Driscoll on Jan 14, 2015 3:35:33 PM

Powerscourt Estate is celebrating very strong visitor numbers in 2014 as 380,000 guests visited Powerscourt Gardens and Waterfall over the past 12 months. This represents a +10% increase on 2013 visitor numbers and confirms Powerscourt Estate’s place as the most visited paid tourist attraction in County Wicklow. 233,000 people visited Powerscourt Gardens in 2014, up +11% over the previous year, while visitors to Powerscourt Waterfall were up by +8% at 147,000.

Some high-profile visitors to the estate in 2014 included the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina, Chinese political leader Mr. Liu Yunshan, actors Timothy Dalton, Josh Hartnett, Colin Farrell, Gabriel Byrne and Travis Flimmel (known for his lead role as Ragnar Lothbrok in Vikings). Popular TV series filmed on the estate in 2014 included gothic horror ‘Penny Dreadful’ and the historical drama ‘Vikings.’

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Visitors from the United Kingdom to Powerscourt Gardens were up by +56% while USA visitors were up +50%. Visitors from China to Powerscourt grew by 25%, making them the third-most important market in terms of visitors to the gardens.

Celebrating the high number of visitors achieved, Sarah Slazenger, Managing Director of Powerscourt Estate commented: "2014 confirmed that our stunning Powerscourt House and Gardens is a must-see attraction in Ireland.  Now number 3 in the world's top ten gardens, as voted by National Geographic and awarded a certificate of excellence by Tripadvisor, it justifies our continued programme of investment in providing a better and better experience for our visitors.”

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Topics: Powerscourt Estate, Powerscourt Gardens, Powerscourt Waterfall