16 September 2007

Powerscourt Estate

Blogger's disclaimer. This post is comprised mainly of pictures falling into the arguably boring category of vacation photos: a lot of pics, mostly of scenic crap, a little light on people and action. In my own defense, we took about 300 pictures between us so I've actually posted very few, the place we were at was indescribably beautiful, and most of the photos I chose for posting are really quite lovely and may even cross over into amazing if you click on the photos to see them in "real" size; try it on a few of them and perhaps you'll see why we took sooooo many pictures. I shall do my very best to keep the pace flowing but a blogger can only do so much when the majority of pictures are of gardens.

Alli and I braved an hour long Dublin Bus ride to the wee village of Enniskerry. We ate lunch, did a spot of shopping...
...then walked a half hour to get to Powerscourt Estate. The walk didn't really look like this the whole way, but this was the nicest bit.
The real draw at Powerscourt are the gardens. We didn't tour the mid-eighteenth century manse, though we did explore the many shops on the bottom floor. (Teehee, I may have even purchased a dress there, thanks Alli, for the girly encouragement.)

To paraphrase my guidebook: The architect of the gardens was a boozer who supervised the construction of the gardens from a wheelbarrow, armed only with a bottle of sherry. He'd bark orders, getting more and more incoherent as the day and the bottle progressed, then call a halt to work around 5pm, claiming a loss of light. Reasonable until you consider that Ireland's summer days end around 10pm.

Drunk or not, this guy was a genius. These gardens have it all: formal and informal, secret pathways, grand expanses of luscious lawn, wooded walks, walled gardens, amazing sculpture, sweeping terraces, ornamental lakes, breathtaking vistas, etcetera etcetera so on & so forth...
Plus it has this sweet, little toothless lion.

Great Sugarloaf Mountain overlooks it all.Oink!The formal gardens are right behind the mansion. Really breathtaking. Everywhere you turn something magnificent smacks you in the head.

There's a beautiful Japanese garden that feels so cool, still, intimate and peaceful you can't believe you just left the grand manor and all its formality. Winding paths, secret grottoes, stone arches, twisty waterways, little footbridges...sigh....
It's hard to pick a favorite part, but this might be it.

Or maybe it was the walled garden. Beautifully messy cottagey beds of wildflowers with pea gravel walks...
...filled with blooms and butterflies...
...with secret garden nooks and crannies...

...and loads of hydrangeas...

...plus espalier fruit trees against the garden walls.
Get a load of those pears!!A riot of chrysanthemums marked the entrance to another section.

Where grapes were grown in greenhouses...
...and the mass of roses were like nothing we had ever seen before. Alli and I were drunk with the sweet smell just standing among them. This picture shows less than a quarter of the rose bushes, each one laden with so many blooms it hardly seemed possible.

Another highlight was the pet cemetery.
So sweet. So neat. So orderly. So devoted.

"Also his wife Magic"

We climbed up this little folly, named Pepperpot Tower.

And it was from Pepperpot Tower that we spied something not marked on the map. Something we couldn't find an entranceway to. Something we had to sneak over a wall to get to. Something we crept through with giggles and trepidation. A hidden treasure...
That's right people, we broke into The Graveyard!!!

A graveyard with a creepy ruined church!!!
A graveyard with empty tombs!!!

"Where do you suppose the body went?"
It's like a bad Rob Zombie movie.

Can you understand how strange it was to see this quaint little pet cemetery juxtaposed...
...with this horror film setting?
I just wish I had a movie of Alli and I creeping around, uneasily clutching our purses, as if that's where the danger lay!! As if all the undead are after is a new shade of lip gloss.

I am so grateful for the beautiful day we had and for having Alli to share it with.

Okay folks, thanks for your patience. My holiday slid-show is over for the time being.
Now go sleep tight.



Anonymous said...

Kelly, these pictures are beautiful!!! Maybe one reason is because I notice the sun is shining!!! I loved the secret garden picture (he locked the gate and buried the key!) Did you know that is my favorite book of all time? I want to go to this place if I ever get over to visit.

Alli Arnold said...

super post, shirl. you really captured the day. and somehow, the pictures that we took ALMOST do it justice. what a beautiful day to have been at powerscourt!

i laughed out loud at the picture of me in my red jeans, wide-eyed and standing over an abandoned grave with my purse dangling from the crook of my arm. we must have been quite a sight
tip-toe-ing around there! good thing only THE UNDEAD saw us...

miss you-

Anonymous said...

Awesome photos, beatiful gardens , again i wish i could have been with you. Glad to see you searching out Ireland's treasures. Love helen