Powerscourt Castle

Powerscourt House From the book, A description and history of Powerscourt, Mitchell and Hughes, London, 1903 by Mervyn Edward Wingfield, Viscount Powerscourt

The historian Liam Price believed that in 1302 the lands of Powerscourt were belonging to Geoffrey le Poer and the lands were known as Balyteneth. Geoffrey obtained the lands from Eustace le Peor who held them prior to Geoffrey. It would appear that the de Peor family built the castle, as in 1316 we know that the Kings officials were repairing the castle of Balyteny and by then the castle and lands were taken by the government, to aid in the defence against the Irish in Leinster, who had already burned Newcastle and Bray. The lands around Powerscourt Castle were believed to be occupied by the O’Toole family as far back as 1355 and it believed that the castle was then a ruin and remained a ruin util the late 15th century.

Powerscourt Castle was rebuilt before prior to 1500 by the Garrett Mór Fitzgerald, the 8th Earl of Kildare, who took possession of this area around 1482. The area was then recorded as “uninhabited land”. The Castle at Powerscourt was destroyed in 1535 during the time of the rebellion of Silken Thomas (1513 – 1537) by the O’Toole’s. After the rebellion the lands wee forfeited from Richard Fitzgerald the son of 8th Earl and brother of the 9th Earl. The lands were then granted to the Talbot family of Belgard, who took control of them from 1538. Though the talbots agreed to rescind this portion of his lands and it was given to the O’Toole’s who held it until 1603, when Phelim O’Toole died. It was then leased to Sir Richard Wingfield. In 1609 Marshal Sir Richard Wingfield was awarded the estate Powerscourt for ever, which included the ruined Castle of Powerscourt. Sir Richard was made Viscount Powerscourt in 1618.

It is believed that Sir Richard converted the castle into a great mansion and this would be backed up as in 1638 Powerscourt was recorded as a great mansion. This mansion was destroyed by fire in the rebellion of 1641. This house must have been rebuilt. The current Powerscourt House we see today was built in 1731 by the Wingfield family and was designed by the noted architect Richard Castle and incorporated the walls of the old castle.


Wingfield, Jocelyn R; Virginia’s true founder: Edward-Maria Wingfield and his times, 1550-c.1614: the first biography of the first president of the first successful English colony in the New World, Athens Ga, Wingfield family Society, 1993.

Price Liam; Powerscourt and the Territory of Fercullen, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Vol LXXXIII, Part II, 1953.

Scott, Canon George Digby; The Stones of Bray, Cualann Publications, Bray 1984

Powerscourt, (Mervyn Edward Wingfield), Viscount; A description and history of Powerscourt, Mitchell and Hughes, London, 1903

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