It’s no surprise that I am a huge fan of wandering through expansive woodlands and beautiful gardens on my travels.
From exploring the Boboli Gardens in Florence, to getting lost in the magical Puzzlewood and wandering through the Californian redwoods, a trip away for me generally involves finding nature in some way.
And our city break to Dublin last year was no exception.
Getting Out of Dublin City
Powerscourt Estate is located in County Wicklow, near the Wicklow Mountains, south of Dublin.
Although it is possible to use a couple of public transport options such as trains and buses, it’s easiest to hire a car and drive yourself to the estate. This way, it’ll only take you 30 minutes to drive there and is a perfect half day trip from Dublin.
If you do decide to opt for a hire car, it’s worth spending a few hours wandering through the Powerscourt Estate and Gardens itself, and then driving down the road to the Powerscourt Waterfall 5 minutes away.
And if you really want to make the most of your hire car for the day, it’s definitely worth driving through part of the Wicklow mountains to treat yourself to some spectacular views across the Irish landscape.
A Wander Through Powerscourt Estate & Gardens
Powerscourt Estate and Gardens is a whopping 47 acres! So there’s a lot to explore during your few hours here. Thankfully you’ll be given a map with your ticket so that you can be sure you’re not skipping the best bits.
Initially, you’ll come to an old battlement style building, complete with canons and great views across the estate. Leave here and take a wander through beautiful trees, and within a few minutes, you’ll find the Japanese style gardens. At first, you’ll be up high allowing you to see this full garden in one glance.
Take a leisurely stroll down into the gardens, and you will have Sakura (Cherry Blossom) trees to marvel at, flowing streams to walk along and Japanese style architecture to admire. I adore finding Japanese inspired gardens and attractions, so it’s no wonder that these gardens were included in a round-up of 9 Japanese inspired experiences around the world.
Further walks through the estate will show you various kinds of plants, flowers, trees and shrubberies – you’ll even spot some redwood trees towering over the valleys in the estate! This place really is a botany lover’s, photography lover’s and nature lover’s dream.
Along the way, you’ll be treated to fantastic views across several water fountains towards the Powerscourt House. The closer you get to the house, you’ll find the various walled and landscaped gardens to also wander through. These gardens have been perfectly landscaped to show everything in such a beautiful way. I just adore the multi-coloured tulips that seem to be a specialty here. Make sure you also keep an eye out for the golden leaf gates that showcase rose bushes in such a unique way!
Marvel at the Powerscourt Estate Waterfall
What quite a few people don’t realise is that the waterfall is not actually on the main Powerscourt Estate itself, and you also need a separate ticket for each attraction.
But as the waterfall is only €6 entry, a 5 minute drive away from the gardens, and is majorly beautiful, you’d be a fool not to see both in the one day. At 121m (398ft), this is Ireland’s highest waterfall. You can even climb up on the rocks to see the waterfall in all of its majestic beauty up close!
Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten your picnic as there is a kiosk on site that serves everything from coffee and tea to hot-dogs and ice-cream. The kiosk is open everyday from June 1st to August 31st and year round at weekends (if weather permits). There is plenty of car parking and there are toilets near to the kiosk. Also, dogs are allowed but they must be kept on the lead.
Drive Through the Wicklow Mountains
The Wicklow Mountains are Ireland’s answer to the Brecon Beacons in Wales or the Scottish Highlands, so when exploring Ireland, you really should try to make a stop here! Plus the views really are outstanding across the Emerald Isle.
Whilst driving through, the roads are quite steep and windy in places with steep drops, but it’s not as much of a challenge as you might expect. That said, I’ve grown up in the English countryside so I’m very used to winding roads and steep hills. You should also keep an eye out for deer! One jumped out right in front of our car when we drove through and then disappeared into the forest – safe to say I had to be very quick with the brakes!
- Powerscourt Estate & Gardens: €10.00 from March 1st to October 31st, and €7.50 entry at other times of the year. As expected, there are discounts for students, OAPs and young children.
- Powerscourt Waterfall: €6 entry for adults (plus discounts for students, concessions and young children).
- Wicklow Mountains: Free!
Alternatively, you can pay for each attraction separately when you arrive.
- Powerscourt Gardens: Open daily year-around (except December 25th & 26th) from 9.30am – 5.30pm (with last entry 5pm). They close at dusk in the Winter (with last entry 30 minutes before dusk).
- Powerscourt Waterfall: Open daily from 10.30am-4pm in January, February, November and December. During March, April, September and October, you have an extra hour’s exploring until 5.30pm, and in May, June, July and August, you have until 7pm. Please note last entry times are 30 minutes before closing. The waterfall is also closed for the 2 weeks prior to Christmas.
- Wicklow Mountains: Open 24/7, year-round.
Wheelchair users and families with pushchairs should find both the gardens and waterfall easily accessible, thanks to the flat paths and only slightly sloping walkways. Parking is also very close to the start of the gardens and waterfall, so it’s not too far to push the chairs either. There are also plenty of benches and picnic spots throughout the gardens in case anyone needs a rest.
You may be surprised to find that the Powerscourt Gardens are actually a really good spot for shopping as well! The Powerscourt House is now home to the best of Irish design in giftware, clothing, furniture and ethical cosmetic products. Avoca Stores is a firm favourite of mine, allowing you to browse through clothing, books, jewellery and cosmetics. Here, you are welcome to try locally sourced food in the Avoca Food Hall, including the famous Avoca jams, cakes and home-made breads.
- Eating & Drinking Your Way Through Ireland
- Why Is The Temple Bar In Dublin Famous?
- 9 Japanese Experiences Around The World
I hope this article and my photos are enough to convince you that a trip to Dublin should also mean a visit to the Powerscourt Estate, Waterfall and Wicklow Mountains! Do you think you would go here? Let me know in the comments…
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