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While I intended to spend about 5 days in Ireland, plans changed! I ended up landing Saturday evening with a scheduled departure for Sunday afternoon. Not a whole lot of time to do anything, and I certainly didn’t achieve my goal of sleeping in a castle. My Saturday night was pretty low key with dinner at a local pub with my dear friend and a walking tour of his neighborhood, Swords. While I couldn’t pull off sleeping in a castle this trip, I did find Powerscourt, a gorgeous estate located near a waterfall. And if you know me, you know I love castles and waterfalls! My host assured me we could hit up both in the morning and have me at the airport in plenty of time for my flight home.
Powerscourt Estate is located just south of Dublin, nestled in the Wicklow Mountains. We arrived at the estate and gardens just as the doors opened and to my disbelief the sun was shining in Ireland! If you notice the sky in these photos, you’ll see it didn’t last too long.
While I only had a brief time in the gardens, I highly recommend you plan to spend at least half a day here and enjoy a coffee or meal on the terrace overlooking this stunning view. We saw everything on the map as we wandered through the beautiful gardens, but I didn’t truly have a chance to take everything in and appreciate all of its beauty. Below are a few of my favorite things, but there’s plenty more of you to explore on your own should you have the chance.
The Italian Garden
As you descend down the stairs into the various gardens, the first you will encounter is the Italian garden. The Italian Garden consists of several terraces, the lake with fountain, and Italian style flowers and trees. It was the first part of the garden to be built, but its completion took many years.
The estate house isn’t open for the public to wander around. There’s a gift shop and the restaurant, but I’m not too sure what else goes on in that building. Luckily the lookout tower is available for explorers and from the top you get a great view of the house and Sugarloaf Mountain. And don’t forget, when that lookout tower was built hundreds of years ago, the trees weren’t quite that tall, so the view was a little better!
Dolphin Pond & Walled Gardens
There’s no denying that dolphins are some of the most beautiful creatures on Earth. This small pond has been on the estate since the early days, and eventually the Dolphin fountain was added to enhance the beauty of this pond. You can see the stunning gates of the Walled Garden in the background of the photo below. Inside the walled garden you’ll find many varieties of plants and flowers. Some I’d never seen before!
Powerscourt Waterfall, the tallest waterfall in Ireland, is just a 10 minute drive away from the estate. This is a great spot for a hike, a cookout, or grabbing an ice cream from the snack stand. As I mentioned, I was in a rush, but I took a few minutes to dip my toes in at the base of the waterfall and snap a few photos. My friend hiked around the rocks a bit before we headed back to Dublin.
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