Around an hour’s drive south of Dublin, you will find the Powerscourt Estate which sits on the edge of the Wicklow Mountains National Park. As you approach the area you are greeted with the kind of scenery that you find in movies such as P.S. I Love You, rolling hills, rugged outcrops of rock and winding roads.
For New Year’s Day, a group of us decided to embrace the mild January weather and make a visit to the Powerscourt Waterfall, Ireland’s highest waterfall. The waterfall stands at an impressive 121 metres (398 feet).
As you park up you are greeted by the impressive view of the falls with water flowing fast against the rock. The trail to the base of the falls offers little streams, gnarly tree roots (which the children with us to great delight in climbing over) and giant Redwood tree trunks ideal for hugging!
You can get pretty close to the base of the falls and can walk over some of the big boulders and pools there, however I would definitely take good shoes if you are choosing to do this as some of the rocks are understandably very slippery. There are also some fantastic photo opportunities at this spot too, with many a family trying to go for the perfect selfie.
After the excesses of Christmas and the New Year it was nice to take a hike around the nature trails. We followed along the edge of the River Dargle, playing Pooh sticks with the children, embracing some of the ‘sensory trail’ which encourages you to take in your surroundings whether by touch, scent, sound or sight – a great way to get children to appreciate the nature that is around them. Apparently, there are also red squirrels here but we weren’t lucky enough to spot any of them – probably having two lively 7-year-olds with us at that point hampered this anyway!
The scenery all around is simply beautiful even in the depths of winter. The ferns had turned browny-orange and offered a dramatic contrast to the grey sky. There were pine trees that looked worthy of being prized Christmas trees and the emergence of new growth ready for the year ahead. Dotted amongst these are monkey puzzle trees, birch and some of the giant redwoods. It’s no wonder that over fifty movies and TV shows have been filmed on the Powerscourt estate since the 1920s!
Most of the trails are paved, making walking here pretty easy for those with pushchairs. There are some hills along the way but there are routes that you can follow that would avoid these if needed.
For younger visitors there is also a large play area with sandpits and climbing frames. There is also a small takeaway café onsite which offers light snacks and refreshments.
If you visit in the summer then you can take advantage of hiring one of the BBQ pits or resting up at the picnic benches. With shallow areas of the river nearby, I can imagine this must be a popular spot for a bit of paddling on a warm day! This is the kind of place that you think would look incredible whatever the season.
If like me you enjoy cities but like to escape them to see further beyond them then Powerscourt Waterfall would make an ideal day out for anyone who’s staying in Dublin and has access to a car