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Downhill Demesne & Mussenden Temple

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In the 1700s, the former Bishop of Derry and 4th Earl of Bristol, Frederick Augustus Hervey lived in Downhill and built himself a splendid palace. Today, only the outer walls survive, so you can roam through the estate.

If you’re curious about the origin of the term ‘demesne’, it stands for the private part of an estate that was enclosed within a wall. The demesne was to be used by the landowner alone and usually surrounded the grand house and included formal gardens.

You can still admire Downhill House as the ruins of this 18th-century mansion remain on the grounds.

The highlight of the estate is Mussenden Temple. The temple was based on the Temple of Vesta in Italy. In the olden days, it housed the Bishop’s library.

Standing close to the cliff edge, Mussenden Temple offers stunning views over the sea below!

Today, the grounds of Downhill Demesne host summer concerts and readings. There is a small entrance fee to discover the grounds and house.

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