Powerscourt is one of the most beautiful estates in Ireland. Situated in the mountains of County Wicklow, it was originally an important strategic site for the Anglo-Normans who came to Ireland in the late 12th century.
Where Powerscourt House stands today there was once a 13th century medieval castle, owned by the Le Poer Family from which ‘Powerscourt’ takes its name. Powerful Irish families including the O’Tooles and the Fitzgeralds battled for possession of the castle and its lands over the succeeding centuries.
In 16th century Ireland the control of land was a cutthroat business.
Le Poer’s lands were soon overrun by the O’Tooles.
Clan Chieftain Phelim O’Toole kept switching sides in the constant fighting between Queen Elizabeth I of England and the Wicklow clans. In 1603 a band of exasperated Englishmen cornered O’Toole near his castle.
The eighty-year old clan chief was killed.
The Killing Hollow in Tower Valley, where this happened, features on our garden tour.