Mussenden Temple by Mark McKeown Photography
This imposing temple is perched on the cliffs overlooking Downhill Strand. At one time, it was possible to drive a carriage around the temple, however coastal erosion has brought the edge closer to the building.
The temple was built in 1785 and forms part of the Downhill Demesne. The demesne 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. It was Lord Bristol – popularly known as "the Earl-Bishop" – who had the "temple" built. Constructed as a library and modelled from the Temple of Vesta in the Forum Romanum in Rome, it is dedicated to the memory of Bishop Lord Bristol's niece Frideswide Mussenden. Its walls were once lined with bookcases. A fire was kept burning constantly in the basement. This and its enclosed flue meant that, even in this very exposed location, the books never got damp.
Mussenden temple is now looked after by The National Trust.
A landscape photographer, Mark McKeown has a passion for night, Astro and drone photography.
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