On an overcast dark summer's afternoon, we arrived at the National trust's Downhill Demesne and Mussenden temple. Located at the town of Downhill not to far from Coleraine in Northern Ireland, we parked nearby the entrance. Well wrapped in our wetgear, we entered the National trust estate.
We walked along a grassy lane towards the ruins of Downhill house which once was an amazing 18th century mansion built by the eccentric Earl Bishop.
And it is not hard to see why this location was choosen by the Earl to built this magnificent house. Located on the top of the seaside cliffs, the views from the estate towards Downhill beach are just breathtaking .
The only things which remain of the house are the walls, but it is brilliant fun for the kids to discover the many roofless and windowless rooms of the house, a perfect location to play hide and seek.
Having walked through the house, our attention was diverted to the beautiful Mussenden temple which stands literally on the cliffs edge.
Back in the day when it was built, it was possible to drive a horse and carriage around the temple, nowadays it just balances on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Atlantic.
But don't fear, cliff stabilization work was carried out to protect the temple from falling into the sea. And if you are looking for a special location to get married, the temple has a licence to hold wedding ceremonies.
At the car park, we wanted to warm ourselves with a coffee, so we headed over to Al's coffee. We were greeted with a big smile by Al, and after a great chat and a nice cup of coffee and a quick pose for another picture, we headed through the apple tree garden to the dovecot and icehouse. The dovecot once housed many pigeons, pigeons which would have been kept for their feathers, their meat and ther dung which was a great fertilizer.
We enjoyed the afternoon, even with the persistent rain.