Wet and Windy. But Enjoyable Stay at Powerscourt Hotel

Powerscourt Visit 2019

Wet and Windy. But Enjoyable Stay at Powerscourt Hotel
Lobby at the Powerscourt Hotel

It was a wet and windy Monday when we made our most recent visit to Powerscourt. The estate, there is also a waterfall nearby, is just an hour or so from Dublin and now, with the improved motorways, it is just two and a half from Cork. Use M8, M7, M50, M11 (to Wexford) and that will leave you with just a few miles of country road to reach your destination.
Weather was so much better when we last visited in 2015

The rain followed us up from Cork and it was pelting down when we pulled in to the hotel on the grounds, hoping to have a quick lunchtime snack in the bar. But McGill’s Pub was closed until 4.00pm so we headed up to the house and the Avoca Cafe whose high-ceilinged dining rooms look out over the grounds. Not much to be seen that Monday, I’m afraid, but a tasty soup with a warming piquancy set  us up for the afternoon.
Night view of the fountains in the pool from the balcony

We did a little food shopping in the adjoining Avoca shop. Lots of local produce on sale, including Skellig Chocolates, and also plenty of fudge under the Avoca label but this was unmistakably Mella’s fudge from West Cork. No shortage of non-Irish produce too and surprised to see they had apple rings from China when Con Traas mades a superb delicious apple ring down in Cahir.

We had an appointment to tour the newly built Powerscourt Distillery just a few hundred yards away. With the weather still bad, we drove over (rather than walked) and parked outside the door. The tour is excellent and highly recommended and you may read about our experience here. Didn’t realise they had a café there also.

Back then to the Powerscourt Hotel to check in. Entry to the gardens is free to hotel guests but no possibility at all of exercising that option as the rains continued to pour down. Our room here was fabulous and indeed the hotel itself is magnificent, the lobby particularly impressive.

Super starter of Gin Cured Goatsbridge Trout, Pickled Apple, Green Gazpacho, Avocado, Tapioca

We had been hoping to dine at Sika, the main restaurant, but this is currently subject to occasional closure due to renovations. However we did enjoy the Sika cooking in the Sugar Loaf Lounge instead. Both restaurants have views out towards the Sugar Loaf mountain but, such was the extent of the rain, that famous landmark wasn’t visible at all.

Goat cheese, smoked beetroot purée,
Heirloom cherry tomato, cucumber gel
Basil Oil, Balsamic pearls

Dinner was excellent, quite a lot of choices here, and service, as you might expect, was also top notch. 

After dinner, we headed to McGill’s Pub in the hotel. This Irish pub is an excellent venue. The bar itself is “made for elbows”. The seating is not at all plush but good enough to enjoy your pick from a fine selection of whiskeys, beers and stouts. They also offer "a tasty menu of wholesome, traditional dishes, prepared and served with imagination and style".

And, even on a wet Tuesday, it was busy with food and drink, as indeed was the hotel itself. There was a great buzz in the bar and a football game on the screens. Not exactly what you’d expect in a five star but very enjoyable indeed with a very friendly and efficient service. 

I usually look for local beers and noted a string of Wicklow taps. Unfortunately none were active so I settled for a pint of Smithwick’s Red Ale. Not bad at all but not quite as good as the large bottle (568 mls) of Smithwick Red that I enjoyed a few months back in Lonergan’s Pub in Ballymacarbry (west Waterford).

Next morning, we were served breakfast in the Sika, after a very warm welcome indeed, No shortage of choice here at all and the hot buffet was just brilliant. The food looked very inviting and all was at the proper temperature and, back at the table, proved very tasty indeed, a proper Irish breakfast, just what was needed for another wet day ahead. More on that and the fantastic Wicklow Heather in the next post.

More about the gardens (from a previous visit) here

Also on this trip: Powerscourt Distillery
The Wicklow Heather