Downhill, Co.Londonderry

Janette and me went for a wee drive up to Castlerock today, and out to visit the Mussenden Temple, Downhill Demesne and Beach.  It was a bright sunny November morning, cold and with an invigorating wind!  Great day for photography though.

Mussenden Temple
Mussenden Temple

Mussenden Temple is a National Trust property sitting right on the edge of the cliffs, overlooking the Atlantic. – although that wasn’t always the case; when the building was erected in 1785 it was possible to drive a coach and horses round it!  Coastal erosion changed that.  The building was a ‘folly’ built by Freerick, Lord Bristol, when he was Lord Bishop of Derry, 1768-1803.  It was constucted to be a library, and a fire was kept continually burning in the building to keep the books dry.  Here’s some other images…

Uphill from the Mussenden Temple is the old Manor House, Downhill Castle.  Now totally in ruins it is hard to believe that the building was occupied until the 1940’s.

Downhill Denesne

This image was made shooting into the sun, – I wouldn’t recommend doing this with a DSLR, for the strength of the sun reflecting through the view finder can cause serious eye damage.  Come to think of it, its probably not a good idea to do it with a mirrorless camera either, for it can’t be good for the sensor.  Here’s some more orthodox images…

There is a Walled Garden and another structure known as the Dovecote.  It was used as a home for doves, but the ground floor was used as storage for the food harvested from the demesne gardens.

From the beach at Downhill, one can look up at the Messenden Temple.  The NIR railway line from Coleraine to Londonderry runs through a tunnel under the estate, and along the side of the sea.  It is said to be one of the most picturesque and scenic railway journeys in the world.


The beach is a glorious strand of golden sand on the Atlantic shore, with views across to Donegal.