In 1961, Ralph and Gwen Slazenger purchased Powerscourt from the 9th Viscount of Powerscourt, Richard Wingfield.
The Estate had previously been in the Wingfield family for 350 years .
Ralph Slazenger was from the famous Slazenger family His father and Uncle started the company that produced tennis racquets and balls (Slazenger tennis balls are still used at Wimbledon today) although that company was bought over and the Slazenger’s are not involved with it today.
An engineer and inventor, Ralph’s primary reason for purchasing the estate was not for the Grand House and Gardens, but his interest in renewable energey and is desire to harness hydroelectricity from the Waterfall. As it turned out the waterfall was not suitable for this, but it showed Ralph’s passion for renewable energy ahead of his time.
Meanwhile his wife Gwen’s was drawn to the estate as she had a passion for farming and the countryside,
Ralph and Gwen lived happily on the estate for over 10 years with plans to open it to visitors.
A Tragic Tale
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 4tha 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.