Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne

Mussenden Temple is located in the beautiful surroundings of Downhill Demesne near Castlerock in County Londonderry. It perches dramatically on a 120 ft cliff top, high above the Atlantic Ocean on the north-western coast of Northern Ireland, offering spectacular views westwards over Downhill Strand towards Magilligan Point and County Donegal and to the east Castlerock beach towards Portstewart, Portrush and Fair Head.

History of Mussenden Temple

The temple was built in 1785 and forms part of the estate of Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol (or the Earl Bishop). The temple was built as a summer library and its architecture was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, near Rome. It is dedicated to the memory of Hervey’s cousin Frideswide Mussenden.

Both the Temple and the surrounding views are among the most photographed scenes in Ireland. Over the years the Temple itself was under danger of being lost to the sea due to the erosion of the cliff which brought Mussenden Temple ever closer to the edge. In 1997 the National Trust then carried out cliff stabilisation work to prevent the loss of this lovely building.

• Dramatic setting on a wild coastal headland
• Uniquely reflects the personality of its flamboyant creator
• Stunning Mussenden Temple, perched upon a precipitous cliff edge
• Cliff top walks with breathtaking views over Ireland’s north coast
• Colourful sheltered garden paths
• Striking 18th-century ruins to explore
• Children’s Tracker Packs available – includes binoculars, compass and bird identification cards
• The Temple is now available for civil wedding ceremonies through arrangement with the National Trust.

Suitable for picnics. Wheelchair access. Programme of events. Learning facilities. Dogs must be kept on leads.


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