MansionNorth IrelandTemple

Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne

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HISTORY

Mussenden Temple is a small circular building situated on cliffs near Castlerock in County Londonderry, high above the Atlantic Ocean on the northwestern coast of Northern Ireland. Perched on the cliffs overlooking Downhill Strand, it was once possible to drive a carriage around the temple: however, coastal erosion brought it closer to the edge. Downhill House was a mansion built in the late 18th century for Frederick, 4th Earl of Bristol and Lord Bishop of Derry (popularly known as "the Earl Bishop"), in Downhill, County Londonderry. Much of the building was destroyed by fire in 1851, before being rebuilt in the 1870s. It fell into disrepair after World War II.

WHY THIS PLACE

The temple was built in 1785 and is part of Downhill Demesne. The heritage site was formerly part of the estate of Frederick, 4th Earl of Bristol, who served as the Church of Ireland, Lord Bishop of Derry from 1768 until 1803. Built as a library and modeled after the Temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum in Rome, it is dedicated to the memory of Bishop Lord Bristol's cousin Frideswide Mussenden. Over the years, erosion of the cliff face at Downhill has brought Mussenden Temple closer and closer to the edge, and in 1997 the National Trust undertook cliff stabilization work to prevent loss of the building.

CURIOSITIES

It was set for the Game of Thrones series.

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