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Photographer's Note

Pictured here is the grand staircase that leads to Powerscourt House from the front of Triton Lake, one of the major features of the famous gardens here in County Wicklow.

Most people touring the gardens will leave the house at the top of the grand staircase, and walk down leading to the lake. At that angle, the two winged Pegasus statues stand at side of the boathouse, and the fountain is in the center of the lake spraying water into the air.

The house itself is a beautiful Palladian mansion with two very different facades depending on what angle you approach it from. On this side, facing the gardens is the south façade, a softer design of Palladian work. Originally only two stories high, it was extended soon after completion.

The North side of the house has a more grand and traditional Palladian style, and was intended to be the hugely impressive entrance to the house. The north façade is built on the formal classical temple architecture of Greece and Rome.

For a comparison, I have a picture of the North Façade in the workshop. It looks like a totally different house, but to the left of the workshop shot, you can see one of the green domes that feature on the main image.

A castle stood on this site since the 13th century, and it was a place that many fought for possession of considering its strategic location watching over three rivers. In 1603 the lands became the property of Richard Wingfield and the modern era of Powerscourt began.

In 1730, the 1st Viscount Powerscourt commissioned Richard Cassels to build this impressive mansion. It was completed in 1741 and on completion was one of the grandest houses in Ireland. The house was designed around the castle which originally stood here.

1787 saw the addition of the third story on the south face, and further additions were added in the late 1800's.

At the time, some of the finest 18th century interiors in Ireland were to be found here. Sadly, in 1974 a fire broke out in one of the upper rooms, and within the one night the main house was became a roofless burned shell. All of the reception rooms and bedrooms of the house were lost. There are some fascinating images online of the house as a ruined shell, which is how it remained for over 20 years.

I have to admit, I would have loved to photograph the ruin too but it was a little before my interest in photography, and ability to travel here.

Restored and renovated, the house reopened to the public in 1996, though much work remains to be done on the grand interiors. This is a slow process, but work is progressing. In the meantime, visitors are welcome to visit the house, the ground floor of which contains the best of Irish design in a number of stores, a restaurant and a children's museum. Of course the highlight for any visitor to Powerscourt is the extensive gardens, known across the world for their beauty and variety.

Thanks for looking!

pajaran, Romano46, carlo62, jjcordier, jhm, Subhogen, snunney, aleXundar, macjake, ourania has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2763 W: 15 N: 6660] (23344)
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