Mussenden Temple Walk
The Mussenden Temple Walk is a spectacular outdoor excursion that will expose you to stunning coastal views and impressive historical sites. While out on the trail, you will make your way along the scenic coast to visit Mussenden Temple along the edge of a cliff, before looping around to view Downhill House. This is a fantastic walking route for anyone with an interest in scenic views and history.
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Route Description for Mussenden Temple Walk
Whether the aim of your excursion along the Mussenden Temple Walk is to take in the stunning views along the coast or to check out the historic buildings along the trail, you will be sure to encounter a number of other people along the way. If you would like to enjoy this adventure without the crowds, you should try to arrive early. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes for the journey and bring sunscreen or a jacket, as there is little shade along the route.
While this walking route is a popular one, it is for good reason, as there are so many interesting sights to see along the trail. From the striking Mussenden Temple straddling the edge of the cliff to the ruins of Downhill House and the vast expanse of the ocean, this is a wonderfully scenic route that you will not want to miss out on.
Setting out from the car park, you will head to the northwest and immediately pass by Al’s Coffee, a great place to grab some quick refreshments. From here, continue along the trail and make your way past the walled garden on your way towards the coast. Once there, you will experience some impressive views overlooking the ocean with the equally impressive structure of Mussenden Temple almost teetering over the edge of the cliff. This former library of the 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry was once set back further from the cliff, although coastal erosion has brought it considerably closer.
Continuing down the trail, you will make your way to the east along the edge of the cliffs and turn to the south on a route that overlooks the Black Glen. After passing by a small lake, and heading through a stretch of woodland terrain, you will reach the southernmost portion of the route. From here, follow the path to the northwest to pass by the Mausoleum en route to Downhill House. After exploring the ruins of the once-great 18th Century mansion, you will head to the southwest on the return to the car park where you began your adventure along the Mussenden Temple Walk.
Downhill House and Mussenden Temple
Built at Downhill Demesne in the 18th Century for the 4th Earl of Bristol and Lord Bishop of Derry, Frederick Augustus Hervey; Downhill House was a stunning mansion overlooking the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The building was largely destroyed by a fire in 1851 and was rebuilt during the 1870s, although it later fell into disrepair.
Located nearby along the cliffs, Mussenden Temple was constructed in 1785 and was used as the Bishop’s library. Dedicated after his niece, Frideswide Mussenden who he was greatly fond of, the building was modelled after the temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum. It was originally filled with bookcases and a constantly-burning fire meant that the books would never become damp.
Frequently Asked Questions
What was Mussenden Temple built for?
The Mussenden Temple was constructed for use as a library and was modelled after the Temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum. It was dedicated to the niece of the 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry, who he was fond of.
Can you enter Mussenden Temple?
While you can walk the trails around the building, unfortunately you cannot enter Mussenden Temple.
Insider Hints for Mussenden Temple Walk
- Make sure to stop in at Al’s Coffee for some refreshments along the walk.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Arrive early to avoid the crowds.
Getting to the Mussenden Temple Walk Trailhead
To reach the trailhead for the Mussenden Temple Walk from Castlegate, drive south for 1.1 km along Sea Road and make a right turn onto Mussenden Road/A2. Follow this for 1.8 km and turn right to enter the car park.
Mussenden Temple Walk Elevation Graph
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Mussenden Temple Walk Reviews
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