The history of the sika deer

Lord Powerscourt once had a large deer park at the waterfall where he had many different types of deer including the red deer which are native to Ireland, Indian Sambur deer and the South African Eland.
The animal that Powerscourt is most famous for is the small Japanese sika deer (Cervus nippon). These deer first appeared in Ireland in 1858, when Mervyn Edward Wingfield (better known as the 7th Viscount Powerscourt) decided to introduce a number of exotic deer species as decorative additions to the one hundred acre Powerscourt deer-park.

One species, the sika deer, flourished. The four original imports (one male and three females) soon became hundreds. From here they quickly spread throughout Ireland. Lord Powerscourt gave a number as gifts to estates in Killarney, Monaghan, Limerick and Down. A broken fence in the deer-park led to the escape of many more into the surrounding Wicklow Mountains. The deer bred with native red deer, and today it is thought that all of the deer in Wicklow are in fact sika-red hybrids.

What does the Sika deer look like?

The sika is smaller than the wild red deer. It has a brownish coat, more chestnut in the summer with pale spots, and greyer in the winter. It has a white tail patch which is very visible when the deer is running away and alerts others in the group.

Did you know?

Sika deer get their name from the Japanese word for ‘deer’, and they are considered sacred in their native land.

The Deer in Irish Mythology

To the Celts the stag was the most important wild animal in the forest. He ruled over all the other animals and deer were admired for their speed, agility and strength. This appreciation of the deer was adopted by Christian Ireland and there are many stories of deer assisting Irish saints. Nearby at Glendalough there is a story that St. Kevin turned his foster son and some of his men into deer to evade capture by their enemies. The legendary Fionn Mac Cumhaill and his warriors the Fianna were closely associated with deer and the mother of Fionn’s son Oisin was turned into a deer by a druid.

Powerscourt Estate

Powerscourt Estate Open & In Bloom

As travel restrictions are being lifted from next Monday (29th June), we look forward to welcoming visitors from across the country back to Powerscourt Estate.  The Gardens are now beautifully in bloom and are a perfect place to visit to unwind and experience nature in all its summer glory.

We advise visitors to the Gardens to pre-book in advance online to guarantee entrance.  Book on

From the 29th of June, the areas and facilities open on the Estate include –

-The Gardens (9.30 am-5.30 pm, 7 days a week, last entry 5 pm)
-The Waterfall (9.30 am- 7 pm, 7 days a week, last entry 6 pm)
-The Garden Pavilion (9.30 am-5.30 pm, 7 days a week, Sunday 10 am – 5.30 pm)
-Avoca Food Hall (9.30 am-5.30 pm, 7 days a week)
-Avoca Cafe Restaurant (9.30 am- 4 pm, 7 days a week)
-The Design Loft (10 am – 5 pm, 7 days a week)
-Neptune by Global Village open from the 3rd of July
-Avoca outdoor takeaway coffee & treats
-The Riverwalk (for Annual members)
-The Golf courses (Open to all golfers to book tee times from the 29th of June)
-Powerscourt Hotel open for bookings from the 2nd of July
-Powerscourt Distillery open from Friday 3rd July (Friday & Saturday from 11.30am- 5pm & Sunday 12pm-5.30pm).

To keep our staff, members, and visitors safe we will be facilitating social distancing, hand sanitising, and other safety measures. Please read the list of safety measures here.

To keep informed please visit the News Section of our website and keep an eye on social media for updates.

Best wishes, ⁠⁠
Powerscourt Management⁠