Photographer's Note

Pictured here is the façade of Powerscourt House in Co Wicklow that looks out over the Italian gardens and the huge staircase that leads down to the Triton Lake.

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.

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 that one night the main house 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.

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 upstairs 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. Among the sights to see in the gardens is the Italian gardens, the Japanese gardens, the pet cemetery, the fern grotto, the walled garden, the triton lake with its iconic statues of the Pegasus guarding the entrance to the boathouse, and much more.

The grounds around the house and gardens are also dotted with numerous statues and fountains, many of which are visible in this shot. These include a marble copy of the Laocoön bought in Rome in 1848, Diana the huntress, Fame & Victory, Mercury, Apollo, Belvedere and many more. The Viscounts of Powerscourt enjoyed travelling extensively across Europe and buying or commissioning works of art to bring an international feel to the gardens, and their collections still do so today.

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4177 W: 26 N: 9240] (33774)
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