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Mussenden Temple & Benone Beach – Northern Ireland


Downhill, Castlerock, Northern Ireland


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Downhill, Castlerock, Northern Ireland

Perched dramatically on a 120 ft cliff top, high above the Atlantic Ocean stands the famous Mussenden Temple. Constructed in 1785 as part of the Downhill Demesne by Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol. The temple was built to serve as a summer library and its architecture was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, near Rome.

Both the Temple and the surrounding views over Benone Beach (Downhill Strand) 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. Thankfully in 1997 the National Trust then carried out cliff stabilisation work to prevent the loss of this lovely building.

I can only imagine how amazing it must have been for Bishop Hervey when he sat here almost 250 years ago, relaxing whilst reading his books inside this unique temple library. With a view like this he was certainly blessed indeed!

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