For the next few months I am writing about my first trip to Ireland in the summer of 1997. You can read the first post here where I talk about my first encounter with Dublin, the city that would claim my heart.
We were on our way from Dublin and making our way, slowly, to Waterford (with many wonderful stops along the way). Our first stop was at a very innocuous looking tourist attraction, Powerscourt Estate. It doesn’t look like much from the entrance, a great, old house, but nothing fancy.
But once you’re through to the front of the house, you can understand why National Geographic has called this beautiful place one of the top gardens in the entire world. The back view of the house is stunning!
Not only is it beautiful, but it is often used in movies! The one that really took me off guard came out a few years after my trip, in 2002. I was watching the amazing movie The Count of Monte Cristo, and there was something about the Count’s castle that I knew I’d seen before but just couldn’t put my finger on. I was in the movie theater thinking to myself, I know that place. How do I know that place?
But then, I saw this scene, and I knew instantly how I knew where I had seen this “castle.”
I know it seems like strange thing to trigger a memory. This is the scene when the count lands during his first party at his new house. The camera pans down to his feet, and the stones form a very memorable pattern for me. Immediately after watching the movie, I went home and grabbed the photo album from Ireland and searched until I found this photo of my mother I’d taken at Powerscourt Gardens.
And sure enough – years later when I became more familiar with all the internet had to offer, I looked it up, and sure enough, Powerscourt Estate was used for the outdoor scenes of the count’s castle in the movie. If you’ve never seen the movie before, I strongly recommend it even though it is INCREDIBLY inaccurate from the book. It’s well done, and inspired me to read the book.
But anyway… back to Powerscourt.
The gardens go on forever! I believe it is well over 70 acres of land that has been meticulously kept up over several hundreds of years. Though the house was built in the 13 century, it underwent several renovations, even enduring a fire in the 1970s. The gardens were constructed in the 1800s by the 7th Viscount Powerscourt.
My mother kept several keepsakes from the trip and gave them to me when she found out I was writing this blog series. In there was a map of Powerscourt Gardens.
Here are several pictures of the garden in bloom.
Near the gardens is the Powerscourt Waterfall, which is the tallest waterfall in all of Ireland. My parents and I enjoyed spending time climbing the rocks and hiking around the waterfall that day. It was truly a wonderful find.
It is truly a hidden gem in Ireland, and I fear it is often overlooked. I hope that if you go to Ireland, you will make your way to Powerscourt to see its beauty for yourself!
For more information about Powerscourt Estate, click here.