MUSSENDEN & DOWNHILL DEMESNE
+ DOWNHILL DEMESNE
It’s one of the most iconic landmarks on Northern Ireland’s north coast .
But did you know Mussenden Temple was originally a library, where a fire was kept burning beneath so the books would never be damp?
It was built by the Earl Bishop at Downhill Demsene, in honour of his niece Fridewise Mussenden, in the style of a temple in Tivoli, near Rome..
Mussenden Temple is a five minute drive west of Castlerock, on the Causeway Coast (44 minutes from Derry~Londonderry and 1 hour 15 minutes from Belfast).
The temple is in the grounds of Downhill Demesne, which is managed by the National Trust - so if you’re using the Lion’s Gate entrance where the car park can be found, you’ll need to pay an entry fee if not a NT member (latest prices here).
Dogs are allowed, but you’ll need to keep ‘em on a lead - which makes sense given there’s a very large cliff just over that wall…
…but if they want to look over the edge, other methods of restraint can be implemented (below).
<<CLICK & FLICK >>
Check out that view.
That’s Downhill Beach just beneath. It’s one of three beaches (+ Benone + Magilligan) which combines to make a 7 mile stretch of golden sand that you can safely drive along.
In the 200+ years since the temple was built, erosion has worn away the cliff face at Mussenden.
Hard to believe that a horse and carriage could once easily go around it.
Straight up the path from Mussenden…
…is what’s left of the enormous manor house in which the Earl once lived.
You can wander freely around inside. Make sure you check out the sign points for more info and pics, including what the house once looked like :0
AROUND THE DEMESNE
Don’t just stop at the Temple and grand house. Make sure you go check out the other Gates, monuments, woods and coastal views which are all easily walked.
…and if there’s no rain on the horizon, whip out that picnic you had the sense to organise earlier.
Max, stop drooling mate.
A few drone vids for a better overview of the demesne.
(PS demesne = ‘de-main’ = piece of land attached to a manor)
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