Great Famine

During periods of economic hardship Powerscourt estate provided employment for local people. For example according to newspaper reports "...during the year of the great frost of 1741 a great deal of work was going on in the gardens at Powerscourt. Richard Wingfield of Powerscourt Esq., so remarkable for employing great numbers of Labourers, from his unbounded Charity, feeds 150 Poor people every day..". During the period of the Great Famine Lord Powerscourt continued the work on his gardens and used the Famine Relief schemes as a source of labour. During 1847 there was two drives constructed through the Deer Park. These were designed by an engineer, Thomas Parnell, who was an uncle of Charles Stuart Parnell of Avondale House. Reportedly Lord Powerscourt also ordered the shooting of most of the deer to provide food for the workers and their families.
Powerscourt is evocative of the grandeur and extravagence of the "Big House" during the 19th century. Often large amounts were spent on formal gardens or magnificent collections of furniture or paintings at a time when there was great poverty among the tennants of the "Big House" estates. Powerscourt demesne was fortunate to have a resident landlord who also invested money in improving the productivity of its farmlands and improved the lot of the workers by constructing cottages and a schoolhouse. Some critics point out that this investment added greatly to the value of the estate so it was in the interests of the landlord to improve his holdings.

During the formation of some of the terraces in 1858 Lord Powerscourt took on a large number of unemployed workmen from the Glencree area of his 36,000-acre Wicklow estate. The men with carts and horses shifted soil up a sloped roadway and then down to Juggy's pond where the depth was decreased from 14ft to 6ft.

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