Powerscourt was originally an important site of the Anglo-Normans, and a castle was bulit here in around 1300. The castle was built by the le Poer (Power) family, hence the name. The castle and surrounding lands went through many hands before being deeded to Richard Wingfield in 1603. He was English, and was appointed Marshall of Ireland. The house remained in his family for nearly 350 years.
The original buildings were altered and expended by the german Architect Richard Castle. THe house was enlarged dramatically and the ground surrounding the newly built house were laied out in terraces and a massive garden was planned.Over the next century, the gardens were enlarged and eventually reached the rather amazing proportions they hold today.
The house is not really open to visitors -- a fire at the grand opening in 1996 destroyed a good portion of the newly restored building (the ballroom was nearly completely burned), but the real attraction here is the gardens The first phase of the gardens was done with the orignal house remodelling in 1731. The walled garden, fish pond, adn terraces were laid out to the south and walks around the wooded grounds were created.
lost in ireland 2005 travelogue and photos © rfingerson