A Week in Wicklow – Part 5: Powerscourt House

Radio, Weather and Late Rising

Two quick observations.

Radio: Radio here is really good. Both East Coast FM and RTE 2 have a really good mix of music. Though, oddly, its all English music.

Weather forecasts: We’ve got Freesat here, but it’s been really hard getting a decent forecast for the Republic of Ireland. There don’t seem to be any Irish channels on Freesat, so we’re resorting to interpreting the BBC’s big charts (with the presenter usually stood right in front of the bit of map we’re interested in) and short snippets on the aforementioned radio.

Oh well. It’s mostly sunny with showers, and I guess that will continue.

Our rising time is getting later and later. With the long days there’s not really much requirement to get up and out of the house early, so we’re taking our mornings pretty easy.


Today’s forecast was sunshine and showers (who’d have guessed?!), so we decided to do something with an option of being indoors, so it was off a bit North to Powerscourt House and Gardens. It’s recommended as a good place to see, and we had a voucher for 2 euro discount on tickets to the garden.

We didn’t have any Geocaches for that area, so we looked up a few on my phone. Mobile internet is fine here, though I’m not looking forward to my next bill and finding out how much it costs.

Armed with the information we needed, we set out. The drive was pretty easy and took us through some beautiful land. The only problem being the random/sporadic signposting again. But we found Powerscourt and turned into the long drive – an avenue of huge beech trees. Once into the car park, sporadic signposting took over again and we wandered into a small garden centre. Eventually we decided that this wasn’t on the way to the gardens, so we headed out and back towards the drive. There we did find the entrance to the house.

Bizarrely, most of the parts of the building that are open to the public have been converted to shops. It felt like a small, posh, boutiquey shopping mall. The food court of this mall being the one of the most expensive cafe’s I’ve ever been in! We sat and ate and extortionately expensive sandwich, and drank liquid gold…err, I mean, a cup of coffee before heading to the gardens.

Tidy = Dull

On the way out of the mall, there were a few interpretive boards, but I generally felt that information on the house and gardens was lacking. We were given a small map with a few prescribed walks around the gardens to follow. The gardens are nice enough, but not my cup of tea. If you like pristine, neat, formal gardens, then you’ll think it’s amazing, but I prefer something a bit more on the wild side.

I enjoyed the walk through the woodland with its spectacular, huge firs; the Japanese Gardens were nicely done, and I poked around at some of the smaller wildlife in the dolphin pond, but generally was underwhelmed. The vista from the house of the surrounding hills and Sugar Loaf Mountain was spectacular too, but I was left wanting to get away from the house and up the mountain, rather than hanging around.

Learning about Logs

We grabbed our daily ice-cream fix and headed off to do some Geocaching. First stop, the little town of Enniskerry for “Knocksink River Bend”. The car park to Knocksink Forest Park was closed, and we couldn’t park outside, so we parked up back in Enniskerry and walked the short distance to the park. Initially we were on the wrong side of the river and couldn’t see how to get across, but, after logging on on my mobile and checking the logs, we found that there was a bridge across, and after some meandering, we found the cache.

We then walked back and further up the road to find “Fox Hall”, a 2-part multicache, a bit like a treasure hunt. The first part needed good observation to spot a clue, and once found we used the cache notes to calculate the coordinates of the second cache. Sadly, it seemed to be in a place where a BMX bike track has neatly been constructed and, with several young muggles around on their bikes, we decided not to disturb them. Again checking the cache logs shows that we’re not the first to have this problem.

We learned today that checking the logs, though it can reveal “spoilers”, can also be very helpful and worthwhile.

Tumbling Torrents, Tesco and Telly

Caching over, we headed back south to check out Powerscourt Waterfall. This is a spectacular place and a huge, elegant waterfall. I think we paid 5 euro each to get in, which seems expensive for a short, 1-hour visit. I’d recommend taking a picnic or barbecue here and spending a long lunch in this fantastic setting, rather than paying it a flying visit.

Home via the recognisable comforts of Tesco to pick up some dinner supplies and a lazy evening in front of the telly finished our day – just what we needed.