Wicklow is known as the ‘garden of Ireland’ – famous for blooming heather and gorgeous gardens. But what does it look like in winter?
We went to the Powerscourt Estate to find out.
The 800-year-old Powerscourt House looks fabulous at any time of year, but winter is very special. Looking at these photographs, you can almost smell the mulled wine. And the pine trees… and Christmas pudding…
To truly experience a perfect day at Powerscourt, you need to take a luxuriously long stroll around its magnificent 47 acre garden (wrap up warmly), wound up, of course, with a hot chocolate and a giant slice of cake from the Avoca café while gazing out the window at that wonderful view. Here are three people who know the estate like the back of their hand to tell us exactly what it’s like at winter.
Sarah Slazenger, General Manager of Powerscourt Estate
Winter is the underrated season but here it gets a chance to shine. Vistas open up, the many cascading shapes and strands of branches become visible, and, if we are lucky, the ground crunches under our feet! There is no greater sense of peace than walking on a still winter’s day on lawns and leaves under vast sleeping trees in one of Ireland’s great estates.
It gives us the opportunity to escape our daily pressures and the opportunity to wear our favourite old coats, colourful hats and scarves. And it gives us the opportunity to spoil ourselves a little with the best hot chocolate, pastries, bread and cakes!
Michael Byrne, Head Gardener
The great thing about Powerscourt is that the landscape lends itself to all the seasons. As a gardener, the winter months bring Powerscourt into a different light, especially on a day with clear blue skies when the air is crisp and the gardens feel fresh and alive. Our collection of evergreen trees is an important part of Powerscourt and a joy to behold through all the seasons.
The Walled Garden has a beautiful display of White and Pink Camellias from December through March. It doesn’t often snow heavily at Powerscourt during winter so it was magical to be surrounded by a foot of snow a few winters ago – we didn’t know where the lawns ended and the paths began. The white ground brought out the rich colours from the landscape. Everything contrasts better against a neutral white background.
Sara Waldburg, Marketing Manager of Houses, Castles and Gardens
I can always find an excuse to go to Powerscourt House and Gardens in Enniskerry! If I have friends to meet, presents to buy or work to do it is the first destination that comes to mind. Driving up the beech tree avenue as I approach to the house, looking left to the Sugar Loaf mountain or right onto the golf course I am in awe of the landscape. It makes me respectful and grateful for what has been achieved here in the last 300 years.
As a result of wandering in the gardens, I have developed a passion for the urns and statues that punctuate the landscape. This is never more so than in the winter months. The kinder autumn/winter light of a late afternoon is a particular blessing as the sun sinks to the west and gives a majestic glow to the house and its surroundings. The reward of afternoon tea in the Avoca Café is never far from my mind.
When it comes to celebrating Christmas, Powerscourt is in a league of its own. Santa himself will be on the premises surrounded by his menagerie of animals, who are staying in the Powerscourt Garden Pavilion Stables. Visit the Pepper Pot Tower, too, where little ones can pose with the canons and climb the tower steps to survey their kingdom. And what about Tara’s Palace – a 22 room doll’s house – and the Museum of Childhood? The kids won’t let you away with missing that one!