Powerscourt Gardens are located in the pretty village of Enniskerry in County Wicklow. We spent a lovely sunny bank holiday in this part of the country and really enjoyed the amazing countryside of the Garden County. In the morning, we visited the stunning Powerscourt Waterfall before journeying the short distance to Powerscourt House. On arrival, we enjoyed a quick lunch before setting out for a walk around Powerscourt Gardens.
What are Powerscourt Gardens?
Powerscourt Gardens are 47 acres of beautifully maintained gardens set in the rolling countryside of County Wicklow. The Gardens form part of the Powerscourt Estate which includes an array of other visitor attractions such as:
- Powerscourt House
- Powerscourt Waterfall
- Powerscourt Hotel (a separate building to Powerscourt House)
- Powerscourt Distillery
- Powerscourt Golf Club
The area around Powerscourt has been occupied since the 13th century when a mediaeval castle was built there by the Le Poer family. Consequently, we get the anglicised version of Power from Le Poer. Hence where the name Powerscourt comes from.
Powerscourt changed hands and into the ownership of the O’Toole clan before being granted to Richard Wingfield by King James I of England in 1603. The land stayed in the Wingfield name until 1961 when the 9th Viscount of Powerscourt sold the Powerscourt Estate to Ralph and Gwen Slazenger (of tennis ball fame).
Walking at Powerscourt Gardens
- Distance: It’s roughly 2km to do a full circuit of the gardens and take in the main attractions
- Time Required: 1.5 – 2 hours
- Elevation: A few small inclines but generally nice and flat
- Difficulty Level: Easy
Suggested Powerscourt Gardens Walking Route
We purchased our tickets in Powerscourt House and exited the house into the gardens. Directly in front of us were the Italian Gardens sweeping down to Triton Lake. The stunning Sugarloaf Mountain provides an amazing backdrop to the manicured gardens. We decided to leave the Italian Gardens until the end of the tour and instead turned left.
Firstly, we came across an area known as Tower Valley. The Tower Valley gets its name from the Pepperpot Tower located in this area of Powerscourt Gardens.
In the early 1900’s, Lord Powerscourt commissioned a new church to be built within the village of Enniskerry. Lord Powerscourt then dismantled the existing church within the Powerscourt Estate. He used the stones from the old Church to construct the Pepperpot Tower. Powerscourt completed the tower in 1911 to commemorate the visit of the Prince of Wales. Today, the tower is surrounded by peaceful woodlands.
The Killing Hollow
Close to the Pepperpot Tower lies the Killing Hollow. One of the former owners of Powerscourt, Phelim O’Toole was murdered here in 1603 by English forces. Ultimately, the Wingfield family gained the most from the death of Phelim as they were granted the Powerscourt lands by the crown.
We continued along the path with the next area of interest being much more peaceful. We really enjoyed the fantastic Japanese Garden. The trickling water and beautiful flowers make this a most tranquil location. The Japanese Garden has been part of Powerscourt since 1908.
Beside the Japanese Garden is an area known as the Grotto, with walls made from fossilised moss!
We continued on the path and along to the south eastern side of Triton’s Lake. For me, this provides the best view of Powerscourt House. You can see the lake and the beautiful Italian Gardens leading up to the impressive house.
Triton is the Greek God of the Sea. In Powerscourt, he sits in the centre of the lake and gushes a large fountain of water skywards. The fountain in Powerscourt is based on a similar structure found in the Piazza Barberini in Rome.
Facing away from the house gives beautiful views of the Sugarloaf Mountain.
After leaving the lakeside we came across the elaborate pet cemetery. Here, generations of pets from the big house have their final resting place.
The Dolphin’s Pond
Close to the Pet Cemetery is another water feature, the Dolphin’s Pond. So named due to the dolphins contained in the central fountain. We found this area of the Powerscourt Gardens to be quiet during our visit. As a result, we took advantage by taking a seat in one of the empty benches surrounding the pond. A beautiful place to relax in the sun.
After the pond, the path leads into some nicely planted walled gardens and from there back up towards the house.
To finish, we completed our loop and then walked through the central Italian Garden. Architect Daniel Robertson built the Italian Garden in Powerscourt in the mid 19th century. The wonderfully manicured gardens step down towards Triton Lake offering beautiful view of the Sugarloaf Mountain in the distance.
To fully finish the full tour, we walked the whole way down to the lake’s edge. The view from the little boathouse offers a good location to get a nice picture of Triton in the centre of the lake.
How to Get to Powerscourt Gardens
Powerscourt House and Gardens is about a 40 minute drive from Dublin City Centre. It’s useful to note that the Powerscourt Gardens are located adjacent to Powerscourt House. You’ll find the Powerscourt Hotel nearby in a different part of the estate. The Hotel is located by taking a left turn on the avenue leading up to Powerscourt House and Gardens. To get to the Gardens you need to keep going straight to the top of the avenue.
If you don’t have a car, there are a number of tour operators who provide day trips to Wicklow from Dublin which include Powerscourt Gardens (for example, Hilltoptreks and Dublinsightseeing).
Powerscourt Gardens Opening Times
The Gardens open at 9:30am. Closing time varies between 4:45pm and 5:50pm depending on the time of the year. Last entry to the gardens is 30 minutes before closing time. Powerscourt.com provides full details on opening times for all of the various Powerscourt attractions.
At the time of writing, the entrance fee to Powerscourt Gardens costs €11.50 per adult and €5 per child. Small discounts are available to students and old age pensioners. Also, you can purchase a family ticket (2 adults and 3 children) for €26.
Again powerscourt.com provides full information on ticket prices. As noted in my article on Powerscourt Waterfall, rather annoyingly, they don’t offer ticket bundles to allow you to visit both the Powerscourt Waterfall and Powerscourt Gardens on the same day. So, if you want to do this, you will need to pay separate entrance fees to both.
Facilities at Powerscourt Gardens
The facilities available at Powerscourt are superb. I have already mentioned the various other tourist attractions within the Powerscourt Estate. In addition, there is the terrace cafe for lunch and snacks, toilets and baby changing areas as well as 3 or 4 retail units. There’s even a garden centre beside the large visitor car park!
Overall, a visit to Powerscourt Gardens is a lovely way to spend the afternoon. The owners really advertise the fact that Powerscourt has been voted the third best garden in the world (by National Geographic in 2014). And it’s easy to see why. The gardens are beautiful and varied with plenty to admire in every section.
I would really recommend a visit to the Gardens. We included a trip to the nearby waterfall (10 minutes drive away) and found it be a lovely day out in Wicklow.