Construction on Powerscourt House commenced in 1740 for Richard Wingfield, Viscount Powerscourt. The house was built on the site of a fourteenth century castle, to the designs of the German architect Richard Cassels. The chosen style was Palladian, Cassels having previously overseen the construction of similar great country houses at Carton, Co. Kildare, and Russborough, Co. Wicklow. Much altered in the nineteenth century the house came into the hands of the Slazenger family in the 1960s. It met with tragedy, however, in 1974, being completely destroyed by fire. Since renovated the house is now part of a hotel and golf complex.
The house with Sugar Loaf Mountain in the background
In the nineteenth century substantial alterations were made to the house itself, giving an uneasy symmetry that is visible in this image. The other major development was the erection of formal gardens and lake, projects largely pushed by the seventh Viscount Powerscourt. It is said that he took inspiration from the gardens at Versaille and the Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna. The terrace includes statues of Fame and Victory, flanked by Apollo and Diana.
The main entrance hall