And with that I now begin my story

As a young man of twelve in the year nineteen hundred and seventy four, this was to be the second time I would spend the morning with my scout patrol preparing for our annual neymar videos camping trip, an adventure we undertook in the autumn as the harvest moon was at its height and Halloween had just passed. And so it was early noon when the 17th Blackrock scout troop finally took the road south out of Dublin to Enniskerry and then to the gates of the Powerscourt estate, gateway to the wilder lands of county Wicklow. After some hours of rough travel we entered Enniskerry, once called “Town of the Rugged Lands” in the local tongue, and from there we took off up the long hill that led to the lodge at the eastern gate of the estate. We had to hurry because although darkness was still some hours off, the gate always closed an hour before sunset and there was no other entry into the grounds for miles.

Once we arrived at the gate, our canvas backpacks were shouldered and the laces on our freshly dubbined boots tied tight. We counted off and then made a brisk march down the winding path that led to the great manor hall of Powerscourt and the further mile beyond to our campsite. Here I would like to describe the Powerscourt estate based on what I uncovered in my research in the parish archives long after the time of this tale. Powerscourt, originally a minor estate, was expanded to almost 50,000 acres of fine land consolidated through purchase of small local farms by Lord Edward Powerscourt about whom we will hear more later on. The manor house was a magnificent Palladian style building of cut granite quarried from the hills in nearby Dalkey and whose finely cut arched windows and carved pillars spoke of a time when that stone cost more than a man’s labour. Over the main door hung a carved shield showing the family arms; a proud fiery dragon rampant below three crosses azure. Above this a scrolled stone carving revealed the words “Pax Post Ignem”, the family motto.

The Powerscourt family line traced back to the Normans who crossed the Irish Sea with Strongbow, Earl of Pembrook, a thousand years before. Located high on a terraced hill overlooking the finest glen of the county, the manor house had an enviable vista across the green rolling lands. A visitor admiring the view from the rear of the house would note each graceful terrace stepping down the hillside leading to a large oval lake from which sprang a huge fountain said to be the highest in all the land. And visitors there were many. The main gardens were a great draw to the public and the estate was a popular site for the local scout troops.

Alongside the eastern edge of the main lawn was a pepperpot tower that bordered a charming Japanese garden complete with bridges, caves and shady bowers. I had tumbled there in play as a child, delighted by the happy little stream with bubbling waters that ran alongside the red lacquered pagoda. Likewise, immediately to the northeast of the house lay a shady overgrown acre of dark Yews and creaking Oaks. Secured by a low wall topped with a high iron fence, there was only one gate and this was set back from the road and clearly designed to keep people out, perhaps also to keep others in. This was the cemetery for the Powerscourt family line whose tombstones and mausoleums could just be glimpsed between the twisted trunks. Looking west the visitor would marvel at the large exotic trees standing tall at the garden’s border.


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