Enniskerry (from Irish Áth na Sceire, "rugged ford") is a small village in County Wicklow, best known for Powerscourt Estate. It was created in the 19th century as a planned village for tenants of the estate. It's within an hour's travel of central Dublin and can get crowded at weekends, but suburban sprawl has been kept at bay. Enniskerry had a population of 1889 in 2016. As well as the must-see estate, it's a base for exploring the Wicklow Mountains.
Dublin Bus 44 runs hourly from city centre, from Dublin City University via O'Connell St, Merrion Square, Dundrum Rd, Sandyford, Murphystown, Jamestown and Kilternan to Enniskerry village. Reckon just under an hour. South of Kilternan, you'll know you've left Dublin for Wicklow when you pass through the rugged valley of "The Scalp".
Bus 185 runs every 30 min between Bray, Enniskerry village and Powerscourt, taking 25 min.
The nearest railway station is 10 km east at 1 Bray. This has Dart trains every 10-20 min via Dalkey and Dún Laoghaire to central Dublin, taking 50 min. It also has mainline trains from Dublin Connolly to Wicklow Town, Arklow, Gorey, Wexford and Rosslare, for ferries to Fishguard and Pembroke.
By road follow M11 / N11 and exit onto R117 at Kilroney Cross; follow the river valley up to Enniskerry.
Powerscourt is a short walk from the village, but you need wheels to reach the waterfall or explore Glencree.
Bus Éireann and other operators run bus tours from central Dublin to Powerscourt and various nearby scenic spots.
- 1 Powerscourt House and Gardens, Powerscourt Demesne, Enniskerry, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 09:30-17:30. It's just the gardens you visit - the house is now a hotel, see Sleep. But the gardens are magnificent, looking towards the Wicklow mountains and the distant waterfall. Laid out 1860-80, their highlights include Tower Valley with the Pepperpot Tower, the Japanese gardens, the winged horse statues, Triton Lake, the pet cemetery, Dolphin Pond, walled gardens, Bamberg Gate and the Italian Garden. The gardens ticket doesn't include the waterfall. Adult €11.50, conc €9, child €5.
- 2 Powerscourt Waterfall, Powerscourt Estate A98 W0D0, ☏ . Daily 09:30- 17:00 (to 16:00 midwinter, 19:00 midsummer). Time was, the Powerscourt lands stretched 7 km from house to here; they no longer do so but the waterfall remains part of the estate. It's not a pure drop, but a steep slope where the River Dargle cascades 121 m into a corrie etched out by glaciation. It fans out so the cataract can be seen from a great distance, year-round thanks to the rainfall on the mountains, so it's long attracted painters and photographers. In 1821 when King George IV visited, the Viscount dammed the upper river so that it would form a dramatic torrent when he and the king came to admire it. But the king lingered at dinner and didn't come, just as well as the torrent when released swept away the bridge they were to stand on. (Actually George IV didn't so much linger at dinner as gorge and sluice mightily, so the bridge was at risk from his bulk anyway.) The ticket doesn't include the estate gardens, they don't do a combi. Adult €6.50, conc €5.50, child €3.50.
- 3 St Patrick's Church, Enniskerry. This C of I (Protestant) church was built in the village in 1861, funded by the 7th Viscount to replace the old Stagonil church which stood on his estate. (The old church was less convenient for parishioners once the village moved from Stagonil to Enniskerry - its ruin is hidden in the woods of the estate, and some of its masonry was re-used for the Pepperpot Tower.) The new church has attractive stained glass windows and a peaceful bosky graveyard.
- Glencree is a scenic valley in the mountains west of Enniskerry, which frames the view of Great Sugarloaf Mountain east towards Greystones. Across the head of the valley is a military road (now R115) from Dublin to Glendalough built to hunt down fugitives from the failed rebellion of 1798, "The Year of the French". A barracks was also built here, which later became a harsh school, then a prison camp for Germans: as prisoners of war in World War I, and as internees in World War II when Ireland was neutral. Postwar it housed German and Polish war orphans. It's now the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation. The hostel in Glencree closed in 2006.
- 4 Glencree German war cemetery (Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof Glencree), Oldboleys, Glencree (opposite Peace & Reconciliation Centre at top of valley road). There are 134 graves, mostly air force and navy personnel from World War II, in a moving setting. The spy Hermann Görtz is among them - he was about to be deported at the end of the war and, fearing he'd be handed over to the Soviets, he swallowed poison. The single free-standing stone cross in the rear right hand corner of the cemetery was carved by him during his wartime internment, with the same care and skill that he'd used for sketching RAF airfields.
- 5 Sally Gap is a pass in the mountains where the military road R115 intersects R759. Spectacular scenery here with Luggala above and Lough Tay below.
- 1 Killegar Stables, The Scalp, Enniskerry (2 km north of village), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 09:00-19:00. They offer riding lessons, treks, pony camp and livery service.
- Climb Kippure at 757 metres (2484 ft) on the Dublin / Wicklow county boundary. It has a TV transmitter and other ugly fittings at its summit, but fine views. Most Sunday strollers use the access lane from R115 on its east flank, but feel free to approach from any direction and struggle through bog. The hills to its west are Seefingan (723 m) and Seelin (621 m): beware the army firing ranges if you approach that way.
- Other hills that you can climb near Enniskerry include Fairy Castle, Maulin, Djouce, Luggala, Gravale, Duff Hill and Mullaghcleevaun. See Bray for Great Sugar Loaf, which is further east and detached from the main chain.
- The Wicklow Way passes through these hills.
- Lots of golf courses, you don't have to pay Powerscourt prices to lose your ball amidst great scenery.
- 2 Skirmish Paintball, 27 Killegar Rd Enniskerry, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily year-round. Blat your mates in the 65 acre forest.
- Arty-crafty places in the village are Smock Boutique, Condron Studio, and Enniskerry Antiques Gallery.
- For basics, Spar on The Square is open M-Sa 07:00-20:00, Su 08:00-20:00.
- Powerscourt Arms Hotel in village centre serves good food, see Sleep.
- Emilia's, The Square, Enniskerry, ☏ . Tu-Su 17:00-21:30. The pizzas are reliably good, quality of other dishes has been variable.
- Poppie's, The Square, Enniskerry, ☏ . Daily 08:00-18:00. Small deli and cafe, good food and gets crowded at lunchtime, as do the bike racks outside.
- 1 Johnnie Fox's Pub, Glencullen Rd, Glencullen, Dublin Mountains, ☏ . Daily 11:00-23:30. Dating from the 18th century, the highest pub in Ireland is one of the best for seafood. (By a margin of 1 km it's in County Dublin, but easier to reach from County Wicklow.) Great atmosphere with traditional live Irish bands and friendly staff, can feel touristy, but good food and at night a grand view of Dublin from the hill road. They also do a nightly cabaret dinner, €60 pp, Su-Th from 20:00, F Sa from 21:00.
- Powerscourt Arms Hotel has a lounge and bar and is in the village centre.
- Enniskerry Inn just off The Square serves food daily 12:00-21:00 and has rooms.
- 1 Powerscourt Arms Hotel, The Square, Enniskerry V1D1, ☏ . An old hotel in the centre of the village, gets mostly good reviews. B&B double €80.
- 2 Summerhill House Hotel, Enniskerry Demesne, Cookstown Cottages, Enniskerry A98 WA40 (off R760), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Old-fashioned hotel, with a spa on its impressive grounds. Comfy and well-run, often does weddings and there can be noise from other guests. B&B double €120.
- 3 Powerscourt Hotel, Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, ☏ . The grand house was built by Cassells 1730-40, and the gardens were laid out in the 19th C. It's been owned by the Slazenger sportswear family since 1961 but was gutted by fire in 1974; renovation took till 1996. It's nowadays an upscale hotel and spa, part of the Marriott group. Pre-covid it earned great reviews, but in summer 2020 it's tottering, with a string of poor guest experiences. B&B double €230.
As of Jan 2021, Enniskerry has 5G from Three and 4G from Eir, but only a patchy signal from Vodafone.
- Glendalough is an extensive complex of Early Christian and Norman religious sites, in a scenic valley.
- Wicklow Town has a notorious jail, now a museum, and two fine botanic gardens.
- Dublin is just over the hills to the north.