Development of the Gardens

The Powerscourt gardens have been described as the most ambitious formal gardens of the Victorian era in Ireland, uniting architecture, sculpture, pools, fountains and planting against a setting of woods, mountains and river valleys and the Powerscourt Waterfall. There are three volumes of the "Powerscourt Plans"(1893) which show in great detail each stage of the creation of the gardens. These plans are held in the National Library. The 7th Viscount, Mervyn Edward , also kept a detailed account of the estate of Powerscourt "A Description and History of Powerscourt"(1903) which contains many interesting insights and and annecodotes about the construction of the gardens. This is also in the National Library.

Two terraces can be seen in Victorian photographs before 1860 and later developments of the formal gardens were based around this. Daniel Robertson was commissioned by the 6th Viscount Powerscourt and his plans are dated between 1841 and 1843. The plans were for the construction of parterre terraces and stonework to lead down via another set of steps to an informal pond. Glencree quarry, four miles from the village of Enniskerry, provided stone for the construction. The 6th Viscount died in 1844 and work on the garden was stopped.

The 7th Viscount, Mervyn, came of age and started work on the gardens after a break of fourteen years. Under his guidance the gardens progressed using the popular European landscaping designs incorporating classic statues, fountains etc. which Lord Powerscourt would have seen on his many trips abroad. It also afforded him an opportunity to acquire classical gates and statues which would suit the layout of Powerscourt gardens.

From 1854 to 1860 Alexander Robertson was head gardener and Steward of Powerscourt until his premature death in 1860 "...He was at work at the semicircular Terraces on the lower part next Juggy's pond, and had just completed the east side, when he got an anthrax in his neck, which was cut and the exhaustion caused by the issue pulled him down so much that he died.His grave is in the old churchyard at the east end of the Terrace, near where his work was ended."

previousPrevious - Great Famine
Next - Powerscourt Waterfallnext

Upload to this page

Upload to this page

Add your photos, text, videos, etc. to this page.

Map Search

Related Libraries

Wicklow County Library
Contact this library »


History & Heritage

Popular Sections