As you may expect, as with many outdoor activities with natural scenery, the garden is not in the slightest bit accessible. As someone who uses a wheelchair at times and a rollator on other days, I’m used to this as I realise there is only so many manmade lanes and paths developed into natural scenery. However I think Powerscourt gardens wins for the least accessible that I have been in so far. Natural forests are easier to navigate.
It wouldn’t have been such an issue apart from the complete lack of knowledge from staff. I’m used to going to places like this and for staff to tell me that only a very small part of the attraction is accessible. And that would have been fine. Neither the woman when we were paying in mentioned it, or the staff at the Powerscourt hotel we stayed in when asking for directions -both could clearly see I had mobility issues.
After paying full price (again not an issue if I had known what I was letting myself in for, but maybe could have been discounted considering I couldn’t enjoy most of the attraction) we entered the door to the staff member saying “mind the step”. The husband helped me down the couple of steps only to realise there was an accessible door with no steps right beside us. I’m assuming this staff member was totally new and had never stepped foot outside.
We worked our ways down the paths and everything was fine for a while, very stoney of course and some steep parts but the husband was able to help me. I wouldn’t have managed on my own. There were no signs to point out various path types, like you see in many outdoor activities like forest parks and estates. Which we thought was very odd. Usually these are good guides for the best disability routes.
Couldn’t access the Japanese gardens which was honestly absolutely fine, I understand that. My main issues however was that I got completely stuck trying to get back around, up the very steep side of the garden. It was not only painful but we were panicking we would have to ring for help. I would have had to if I had visited alone. I had to stop on that steep hill several times before trying to drag my body up again.
It was all quite pretty but I couldn’t enjoy it as in so much pain and worrying how/ if I could get back up the building the whole time.
If staff had told me the main part of the garden was completely inaccessible (without perhaps a power chair) I would have just stayed up at the very top and enjoyed the view from there, I would never have attempted that. It was complete hell. Or we may have decided not to pay in at all and go somewhere else, but would have appreciated the heads up either way!
No lift to upstairs of gift shop, but honestly that’s really only a minor issue that wouldn’t bother me at all.
Avoid if you have mobility issues, not worth it. Staff in both the gardens and hotel need training.