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Photographer's Note

The Powerscourt estate is one of Ireland's great treasures. The avenue leading to the Palladian house is more than a mile long and is lined with 2,000 beech trees. In addition to the house, the estate is home to 47 acres of gardens. It's situated in the mountains of Wicklow, which can be seen in the distance in the photo. The site was already important by the 12th century when the Anglo-Normans came to Ireland, and a castle was built by 1300. The le Poer (Power) family owned the land, hence the modern name Powerscourt. Many families have owned the property subsequently, including the O'Tooles, Fitzeralds (Earls of Kildare). In 1603, Powerscourt Castle and lands were granted to Richard Wingfield, an English immigrant who had a successful military career and was knighted and became the Marshal of Ireland. His descendents retained the property for more than 350 years.

The estate was altered significantly in the 18th century when German architect Richard Castle remodelled the existing castle and grounds. The mansion was built around the shell of the earlier castle; remanants of the original can still be seen. The central ocurtyard was converted into an entrance hall beneath the ballroom. The north front was fashioned into a Palladian facade. An extra story was added in 1787 and further major expansions occurred in the late 19th century. The house was also home to some of the most important artifacts in Ireland, particularly furniture. Tragically, the house was gutted by fire in 1974. In the early hours of Nov. 4th a fire broke out on the fop floor. The roof was destroyed and water damage caused further destruction. All of the principal reception rooms and bedrooms were lost. The walls of the main house stood empty for more than 20 years. In 1996 restoration efforts began with the re-roofing of the house and the restoration of windows. Now, mostly the shell of the mansion remains, but visitors can still go inside the house to see the great Georgian ballroom, which has been partially restored and now hosts weddings and other events. The small Terrace Cafe inside has great tomato soup!

The gardens were laid out in two main phases. When the house was rebuilt in the 1730s, the surrounding grounds were laid out in a series of planned gardens and terraces. The design was intended to enhance the wider landscape, which is shown by the photo. Walks wound through the wooded grounds and features such as formal tree plantations, walled gardens, fish ponds, grottos and terraces are still meticulously manicured. The gardens were altered again in the 18th century when the sixth Viscount Powerscourt had architect Daniel Robertson draw up new plans for the grounds. Robertson was one of the leading proponents of Italinate garden design, which was influenced greatly by Renaissance villas in Italy. The work was only completed in 1904. Subsequent generations made further changes to the grounds, adding a Japanese Garden, the "Pepper Pot Tower" and specimen trees. When the estate passed to the Slazenger family in 1961 the gardens received more attention. The grounds were opened to the public in 1974.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 92 W: 78 N: 1270] (2186)
  • Genre: Miejsca
  • Medium: Kolorowe
  • Date Taken: 2006-07-00
  • Categories: Natura
  • Wersja zdjęcia: Oryginalna wersja
  • Date Submitted: 2008-01-31 13:19
  • Ulubione: 1 [Widok]
Viewed: 2207
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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 92 W: 78 N: 1270] (2186)
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