Mussenden Temple

mussThe coast road out of Coleraine leads towards Articlave and on to Castlerock, an attractive seaside village with nowadays an air of affluence, a good golf course, and an even better beach. On the road just before the junction for Castlerock is Hazlett House, a thatched building dating from 1690 – a date which, of course, has other associations in Ireland.

Beyond Castlerock on the road to Downhill is the entrance to the Bishop’s Glen and Mussenden Temple. there are beautiful walks along the Glen and past the old Bishop’s Palace, now in ruins, and on to Mussenden Temple, which is perched on an outcrop overlooking a long stretch of beach.

This is one of the the best known structure in Northern Ireland, and was built in the late eighteenth century by Frederick Augustus Hervey, the 4th Earl of Bristol who was also the Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry. Known also as “the Temple of the Winds” because of its weather beaten location, it was inspired by the temples of Vesta at Tivoli in Rome, ad was named in honor of the Bishop’s young cousin, the beautiful Mrs Mussenden – although she died before it was completed.

He was very much his own man, and in his day he was a champion of Catholic rights, and he made available the basement of the Mussenden temple for Roman Catholic worship, he was also delightfully eccentric, and he once staged a horse race on Magilligan Strand between Presbyterian and Anglican Clergy.

There are magnificent sea views from Mussenden Temple, which is now in the care of the National Trust, and there is also a good path back to Castlerock. For the visitor moving further along the coast, the roads winds down a steep hill to the hamlet of Downhill, and immediately left there is a steep climb on a minor road which leads to the Eagle’s Nest. this affords one of the best views along the entire North Coast.

See it all on your Ireland tour with Ireland Luxury Tours !!!!