Thursday, 10 March 2016

That Temple

OK so I finally caved in and went to The Temple - Mussenden Temple, that is.

Now many people like to bring back a souvenir from their holiday - a straw donkey, perhaps, or a sombrero.  But the Earl Bishop Frederick Hervey was no ordinary person.  When he was on his Grand Tour, he clapped his eyes on the Temple of Vesta, in Rome.  And being a man of considerable means, he thought to himself, that would look good at the bottom of my garden, or so the story goes.

When his offer to buy it was politely declined, he decided to build his own Temple back in good old Ulster, as one did in the 18th Century when one had piles of moolah stuffed down the back of the sofa.  He dedicated it to his cousin Frideswide Mussenden.

It is very impressive, being right on the cliff edge.  You can get married in it these days, apparently.  In the summer it gets pretty busy here, as you imagine, but the advantage of going in February when the weather is bad is that you usually have the place to yourself.  That said, I did meet 3 others that day...

Below is Downhill beach, alongside which runs the Coleraine-Derry/Londonderry train line.  In fact, the train runs under the Temple, there being two tunnels through the rocks below.

I think this shot of my father with his dad (and an unknown gentleman at the rear) is taken at Downhill, although if it is, the rock arch housing this tunnel has since been blasted away, as it's much shorter than the tunnels there nowadays.  Then again, looking at that archway I'm not sure it's even big enough for a train, so I might be barking up the wrong tree here...

Guessing the age of my dad in the front there with his short trousers, I'd say this was taken around 1930.

1 comment:

  1. They got quite special wishes for souvenirs back in the days over there at your place, Michael. But then again there were people of wealth, in opposite to over here on this huge piece of granite we live. At least there were a few people of wealth. And then the rest probably had rather tough days more or less the majority of time.
    As for that last one, of your father and grandfather, seems to have been snapped from hanging in the air somehow. Looks like a rather dodgy place to stay if you're feeling a wee bit dizzy or such? As for the unknown gentleman in the background there I think he might be one of them guys making weird sounds if he knew what was going on inside the safety culture at most work sites these days. At least the two of them related to you were using the safe "three points of contact" method. Great picture it is, for sure!