In 1974 a major refurbishment of the house was completed in preparation for it joining the gardens as a visitor attraction. Tragically, in the early hours of November 4th a fire broke out on the top floor of Powerscourt House and by the morning the main part of the house was a roofless shell. No one was injured, but all of the principal reception rooms and bedrooms were destroyed. The walls of the main house, revealing stonework dating back to the 16th century, stood as a stark reminder of the fire for over twenty years. After the fire, Powerscourt House was restored and re-opened in 1996, although not to its original glory.
For over 20 years the house remained a ruin.