One of Ireland’s most dramatic vistas
What a character!
The Italian Gardens truly offer the best in garden landscaping and design. Cast your eye towards the Sugar Loaf Mountain beyond Powerscourt Gardens and enjoy one of the best views in Ireland. The Terraces in the Italian Garden were originally designed by the Architect Daniel Robertson in the 1840’s, an interesting character by all accounts! The story goes that Mr. Robertson was always in debt, and when the sheriff’s officers were after him, he would hide in the dome at the top of the House! Robertson is said to have suffered from gout and directed operations from a wheelbarrow, fortified by a bottle of sherry. When the sherry was finished, work ceased for the day! Nevertheless, it is clear from the exquisite design of the terraces that Robertson was a formidable architect.
The Italianate Terraces
The series of terraces linking the house to the lake were quite a feat to finish and took over twelve years to build with over one hundred labourers required to complete the task! The design of the upper stone terrace nearest the house was influenced by Villa Butera in Sicily. As a young boy, the 7th Viscount was brought out from his school room (aged 7) on 13th October 1843 to lay the first stone in the ground. It would be wonderful to know of the thousands of stones in the terraces, which one it is!
Interestingly, the 7th Viscount did not believe he would live to see the completion of the terraces. While many generations of the Wingfield Family did not live to see the completion of the work undertaken during their lifetime, they approached its development with gusto and enthusiasm and perhaps saw themselves as just one part of the evolution of Powerscourt. It is through their imagination and hard work that we can enjoy the splendour and beauty of Powerscourt today.
One of the most striking features of the Italian Gardens is the pair of life sized Winged Horses which watch over the lake. They form part of the family coat of arms and were made by Professor Hugo Hagen in Berlin in 1869. The fountain in this dramatic Lake is based on the fountain in the Piazza Barberini in Rome. When you are next here look out for the tiny boathouse adjoining the lake.
Enjoy a Virtual Tour of Powerscourt Gardens