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Powerscourt Estate and Gardens (Dublin County)

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Powerscourt is one of the most beautiful estates in Ireland. Situated in the mountains of Wicklow, it was originally an important strategic site for the Anglo-Normans who came to Ireland in the late 12th century. Five kilometres from the formal Gardens is

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      17.08.2009 13:33
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      Powerscourt Waterfalls and Gardens would make a nice day-visit out of Dublin

      Powerscourt Estate and Gardens is located in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, 20km South of Dublin City Centre, just off the N11. There are really two parts to the Powerscourt Estate. First there's the waterfall area (located down the road from the house itself), and then there are the gardens of the estate building itself. It is well worth a visit to both parts; just see such contrast between the two. When we got to Enniskerry, we went directly to the waterfalls first. This isn't a large area; it's just a nice restful place to visit, with a lovely view of the waterfalls and a picnic area. As you go down into the valley from the entrance, you'll see the parking lot and the falls will already be visible. From there, the walk takes only about five minutes, but if you decide to walk down the river a bit to the bridge, you can extend that to about 20 to get another view. In and of itself, it isn't all that much of a trip, but the falls are lovely and touted as being the tallest one in Ireland. It is a great place to have a little picnic, as long as there aren't many crowds, since table space is at a premium but, the grassy area before the approach can serve as well. Once you've finished this short jaunt, you might want to go back up the hill and see the estate and its famous gardens. One word of warning, however, entrance to the falls does NOT give you free entrance to the estate, or visa versa. Even considering the upkeep, we weren't sure this was all that fairly priced. Mind you, the estate building has been turned into a shopping mall so if you don't want to visit the gardens behind, you don't actually have to pay anything to visit that part. Plus, there's a garden center just off the parking lot for those who prefer to "do it themselves". Of course, the contrast between the two parts is something to note. If you do it as we did, you'll be going from a very simple and natural environment into one that's terribly proper and manicured. The expanse of the gardens is huge, and is broken up into several sections. Most of these are pretty, although not what I'd call awe-inspiring - but it was impressive, mostly due to its size. The highlights for us were the Pet Cemetery, and a really lovely Japanese Garden. We also liked their "wild" flower beds, which were much more to our taste. However, there was one little thing that caught our attention. As we entered the area of the Japanese garden, we noticed a large gathering of people around this very plain stone pagoda-like object. As we got closer we noticed that perched on the top was this prettly little orange breasted bird. That funny bird just sat there and sat there, letting people get very close to him and take lots of pictures. We got a couple in ourselves, including (a very poor quality) film clip of him, until he finally flew off. It was terribly sweet and one of those things you just don't see every day! Powerscourt Estate is a very nice place to visit, and in particular the waterfall part. I'll give it three stars since I've seen much more impressive falls and manicured gardens in other countries, plus the entrance fees are a bit on the high side. Davida Chazan © August, 2009 ~~~~~ Technical Stuff: The webpage for Powerscourt can be found at http://www.powerscourt.ie/gardens/ There you'll find that the entrance to the house and exhibition is free, entrance to the gardens is Euro8.00 for adults, and entrance to the waterfalls is Euro5.00 (concessions available). That means both cost Euro13.00 per person, which we thought was pretty steep. ~~~~~

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