Grand Tour

Touring Routes Ireland

Great Houses TourGreat Houses


Approximate Distance: 74 miles / 118km

Stately houses and sweeping country estates are a dramatic – and often surprising – feature of the Irish landscape… and you’ll find the absolute highlights in Kildare Wicklow.

Think of Killruddery House & Gardens, Ireland’s finest Elizabethan Revival mansion and lately a location to movies like ‘Becoming Jane’ and ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’. Or what about the home of Charles Stewart Parnell at Avondale House, or the Robinsonian gardens at Mount Usher – recently voted favourite in Ireland by BBC Gardeners’ World magazine?

Kildare Wicklow also boasts four fabulous statements of Irish Palladian-style architecture. Powerscourt House, Russborough House, Carton House and Castletown House are all based on the classical temple architecture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, an 18th century style whose elegance and symmetry reaches its highpoint on Dublin’s doorstep.

All are open to visit (check websites for times and seasons), revealing not just stunning interiors and formal gardens, but several surprises too. Carton House, built for the Earl of Kildare, is today a hotel. Russborough has some amazing artwork… and an absorbing maze. Powerscourt boasts tempting shopping and a terrace cafe, and Castletown even hosts concerts.

It’s not all grand estates, of course. Driving this route, you’ll also pass monastic marvels and landscape treats ranging from the Blessington Lakes to Brittas Bay.

Kildare Wicklow: it’s where history meets the here-and-now.


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