Mussenden Temple


So I felt this stunning circular Stone Temple more than justified a post of it’s own. It is not only a stunning circular design but for me the key is its location High above the beach – the location holds such drama. Perched on the cliffs overlooking Downhill Strand, it was once possible to drive a carriage around the temple: however, coastal erosion has brought it closer to the edge. 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 cousin Frideswide Mussenden.

The inscription around the building reads:

Suave, mari magno turbantibus aequora ventis
e terra magnum alterius spectare laborem.
“Tis pleasant, safely to behold from shore
The troubled sailor, and hear the tempests roar.”

The quotation is from LucretiusDe Rerum Natura, 2.1–2.


  1. I remember the location well. 1964 and on assignment for a Travel Publication. It was before the ‘troubles’ and everywhere and everyone was so friendly and relaxed one couldn’t visualise what lay ahead. Loved all the Antrim Coast which sadly I have not returned to which is surprising as the area has left a big impression on me. Now don’t tell anyone ….. but I drove my Ford Corsair along Benone Beach, guess that ain’t allowed now. Lovely surf to swim in, so you see it wasn’t all work 🙂

    1. Now that would an amazing time to visit – I was 1(one) 🙂 – Oh btw too late on the Corsair story “Extiction Rebellion” are in the loop so if you get a knock on your door in the wee small hours… My advice dont answer it 🙂

      1. We have been in this house 40 years and only had one person canvassing and that was over 20 years ago. This election not even leaflet. Maybe that is all positive 😅

Comments are closed.