near Enniskerry, County Wicklow, Ireland
Powerscourt House is set on a country estate, 12 miles from Dublin in the Wicklow mountains.
The refurbished Powerscourt House was built in a Palladian style over 3 floors. On the corners of the main building are two semicircular towers each capped by a dome. The interior boasts an entrance hall over 60 feet in length and a magnificent Georgian Ballroom with double height ceiling.
The house is situated on estate of 47 acres which includes formal Italian style gardens and a waterfall. The mile long driveway leading to the house is lined with over two thousand beech trees giving an air of grandeur.
Powerscourt House now has two rooms open to the public as they would have been whilst the house was inhabited. The remainder of the ground floor is used as an exhibition space detailing the history of the house, two retail outlets selling Irish designed gifts, furniture and clothing and the terrace café.
The other attractions of the estate are the gardens and the highest waterfall in Ireland at 397 feet. Within the estate there are Japanese and Italian gardens, winged horse statues, a deer park, a lake and ponds.
The house also caters for corporate events and wedding receptions of up to 350 guests in the ballroom and 250 in the garden room, with catering from chef’s of the Ritz-Carlton group.
Powerscourt House is open year round (except Christmas) with the house and garden being open daily between 9.30am and 5.30pm, the ballroom and garden rooms open Sundays (and Monday’s May to September) 09.30am and 1.30pm and the waterfall open until around dusk.
The site was originally a strategic military position for the Anglo Normans in the 12th century and by 1300 a castle had been built there by the Le Poer (anglicised to Power) family.
In 1731 a ten year project was started to remodel the castle into a magnificent mansion house by its owner Richard Wingfield. The German architect Richard Cassels was responsible for converting the central courtyard into an entrance hall with a double height ballroom above, adding two circular domed towers, another floor and creating some of the finest interiors in Ireland. Amongst his famous and influential guests was King George IV in 1821.
The seventh Lord Powerscourt; Mervyn Wingfield, inherited the 49,000 acre estate in 1844 at the age of just 8 years old, when he reached 21 he set about renovating the house and creating new gardens similar to those he had seen at the Schonbrunn Palace and the Palace of Versailles. This enormous task was finished in 1880 after 20 years.
On 4th November 1974 whilst the house was owned and occupied by the Slazenger family a fire broke out on the top floor leaving the main building totally destroyed. The house was left abandoned for over twenty years, but in 1996 the family started the renovation process with a new roof and restoration of the windows.
The house and grounds have been used on many occasions for location filming including Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Barry Lyndon’ before the fire in 1974, ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ in 2002, ‘David Copperfield’ in 2000 and ‘The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse’ in 2005. Powerscourt House was also home to the fictional Lord Francis Powerscourt a Victorian detective in David Dickinson’s series of novels. The gardens were used in the recording of the Celtic Woman "Isle of Hope" DVD and TV special.
Other Castles in the Area
Aras an Uachtarain, County Dublin
Ashtown Castle, County Dublin
Castletown House, County Kildare
Clontarf Castle, County Dublin
Dublin Castle, County Dublin
Howth Castle, County Dublin
Manderley Castle, County Dublin
Pucks Castle, County Dublin
Rathfarnham Castle, County Dublin
Russborough House, County Wicklow
Tulleys Castle, County Dublin