Mussenden Temple, County Derry

Mussenden Temple, County Derry

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The Mussenden Temple is a circular building which stands on cliffs near Castlerock in Derry with stunning views of Downhill Strand, Fairhead, Portrush and Portstewart.
 
The temple was built by Frederick Augustus Hervery – Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol in 1785 on the grounds of his estate. He was a larger than life character who left an indelible mark on Derry by building the first bridge across the River Foyle, restoring St. Columb’s Cathedral and by building the Mussenden Temple in memory of his cousin Frideswide Mussenden who he purportedly had an affair with despite both being married. The architecture of the temple - which was built as a Summer library was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy. In the main section of the library he held his vast library - but in a secret area underneath he
allowed Catholics to celebrate Mass – in a time when Catholics were forbidden by law to do so and moreover despite the fact that he himself being Church of Ireland.
 
Today, Mussenden is one of Northern Ireland’s most recognisable of attractions. The National Trust have carried out works to ensure that it will not be lost to coastal erosion.
 

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