With our days in Ireland now drawing to a rapid close, and flights booked to Malaysia for the 7th November (post on that later in the week though, as it’s also looking like a comedy of errors), we’ve started trying more and more once again to see the best of the country before we don’t have the chance again.
More importantly, the weather in Ireland has been uncharacteristically positive for the start of October, and I’ve yet to really have to dig the winter coat out. I’m keeping it permanently in the boot of the car though, as I know I’ll be caught by surprise eventually.
The previous weekend, we took a drive up to Enniskerry – including the hill up towards Powerscourt that gives me palpitations trying to climb in the car, as I’m always terrified and partially convinced that the car won’t make it if a handbrake start becomes required.
Anyway, we went back this weekend to take in the Powerscourt Gardens properly, something I haven’t been at since I was about 6 or 7 years old and the actual Powerscourt House was burnt out (wasn’t it? Or did I imagine that?). Since then, they’ve redone the entire house far beyond my wildest expectations, thrown an Avoca into it (as you do), built on a fairly gigantic garden centre out to one side, and then constructed a bit of a car park that steadily degrades into rubble the further back you have to look for a space. Needless to say, I ended up parking in the rubble.
Moving on, the house has improved immensely (not that it’d be hard, if we’re being honest) since I remember it last, and it was nice to see the winding corridors and steps around the place haven’t been all smoothed out or completely destroyed in favour of a gigantic shopping mall. Don’t get me wrong, the Avoca in there is huge and sprawls across the place but it’s almost like if you had an Avoca in your house; there’s clothing and decoration in one room that sort of leads to another, and then across the hallway you have the food and a sort of bookshop.
To visit the gardens themselves actually costs around â‚¬8.50, although I’d imagine that if you’re particularly hard up (as I frequently am), a trip in to the coffee shop where you can sit outside anyway will probably let you see at least a portion of the most beautiful part of the gardens.
The gardens sort of start off at the best part, in my mind anyway, with the view more or less extending out across the entire estate. We went for the supposed 1-hour route, figuring that we normally walk so fast, it would barely take 30 minutes (actually, we were wrong for a change). Taking this route, you sort of jaunt off to the end of the path, around into the wilderness and stumble almost immediately upon what’s called the Pepperpot Tower, a sort of whimsical cartoon-esque tower jutting out of the ground.
You can go up it too, no problem. Carrying on around the gardens, the walk stretched out up to the Japanese Garden – we probably picked a great time of the year too, as the colours really were something to behold, even if like myself, you don’t generally care much for gardens or horticulture.
Carrying on, there’s also a great view back towards the house and onwards to the pet cemetery. The brochure made some note of how you might get an idea of what to call your next pet from this cemetery (bit morbid, perhaps, but anyway) – personally I was more intrigued by the very personal messages left for some of the pets (not all though, I note).
The remainder of the gardens started getting busier again as we came across more people either setting off on the route or just walking a few minutes of it away from the house. That said, the 1-hour route is worth doing for sure and the gardens – even for someone generally as unappreciative as myself – definitely worth doing.