Yesterday we decided to venture out of Dublin and explore it's environs. A day trip that Fodor's and all of the other books we read while planning, suggested a day trip to Enniskerry.
A day trip that the books suggested, only was in reality a half day trip. The Dart got us there in 25 minutes, stopping in little small towns along the way.
So...Enniskerry. Enniskerry is a little town in the Wicklow Mountains. The Wicklow Mountains border Dublin. The highest peak is called the Sugarloaf. It can be seen poking out among the other mountains. If you have ever read or watched the book and movie, P.S. I Love You(both were wonderful for different reasons...one being Gerard Butler-NOT Irish but acting for the movie), the character Gerry comes from Enniskerry.
When we arrived, there were several signs pointing to Powerscourt House and Gardens. The more scenic route is to walk the 3 miles up the hill to the gates or you could just take a cab, which we found out from the receptionist at Powerscourt would cost a person almost 10euro, not worth it when you could walk the 200 beech tree lined driveway to the estate.
We made a stop at St. Patrick's Chapel, which was beautifully set back in the woods with gravestones plotted all around.
Then we continued with the walk up to Powerscourt.
Powerscourt Estate was originally a 13th Century castle. In the 18th Century, it was vastly renovated for an English aristocratic family. Lord Powerscourt wanted to bring the English country manor to Ireland. Renovations began in 1731 and finished in 1741, leaving the house with 68 rooms.
When we first arrived at Powerscourt, the back of the house wasn't anything spectacular. But it wasn't until you step out onto the terrace, that you suddenly feel like you are another world.
The architect, Richard Cassels really played up the open, airy feeling with the house itself. The renovations were done in the Palladian style of architecture, which veered off from his normal heavy, somber style.
Powerscourt is also home to 7, yes, 7 spectacular gardens. Each one had its own theme and different types of plants. The first garden is the Italian garden, full of statues and a fountain.
Continuing down the garden paths that run along the outskirts of the house, the second garden was Tower Valley, home to Pepperpot Tower which got the name from Lord Powerscourt who wanted the tower shaped like the pepper pot on his table.
Then the tour continued to the Japanese Gardens, created by the 8th Viscount of Powerscourt in 1908.
The next was Triton Lake. I thought the view from the terrace to the mountain was beautiful...but this view really showcased the house in all of its splendor.
Next was the 5th garden, not really a garden, but a plot where some of the family pets were buried. The fact that the family took such great care in their pets' final resting place made me smile, and what a place to be buried.
The 6th garden was the Dolphin Pond. The fountain in the pond was bought in Paris in 1864 and Japanese redwood trees were planted all around.
The 7th garden was the walled garden. This was the final garden at Powerscourt. The "English" Gate surrounded the garden as well as brick walls, creating a grand entrance coming from the Dolphin Garden.
The Walled Gardens were one of my favorite parts. The walls were covered in roses. There were walls and walls of roses. I couldn't imagine how fragrant it would be in the later part of summer when they all were in bloom.
Powerscourt Estate and Gardens has been one of my favorite sites so far while in Dublin. I can't imagine being rich and powerful enough to have created such a grand estate. Sadly, there was a massive fire in the 1970s that completely gutted the rooms of the main house. The rooms had just been restored to their original grandeur, only to be destroyed in a fire.
The house now houses several local craftsman shops and Irish artisans who sell their wares to visitors. It really is a shame, but with money how it is nowadays, the upkeep of the house itself would cost a fortune.
After touring Powerscourt Gardens, we then walked back down to Enniskerry and had lunch at Poppie's Country Cooking. Great little find with a lot of options. Then we headed back to Dublin.
Enniskerry was great! It easy to get to and fun to explore Powerscourt. I kept expecting an Irish Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightly to pop out escorting Elizabeth or Emma on a walk...I took so many pictures at Powerscourt, it was hard to chose some for this blog post!
Look for the next post on the rest of Dublin! It will include what we did when we got back from Enniskerry and what we did on our last day in Dublin!
Slainte(pronounced, slahn-jah- to your health or cheers)!!!