Situated on the heights of Castlerock are the ruins of Downhill House, a fabulous Northern Irish manor house, located in County Derry in Northern Ireland. Magnificent, it was built in the 1770s for Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol and Lord Bishop of Derry. Magnificent, it faces the ocean and overlooks the Mussenden Temple, another ultra popular site in the region. To be seen if only to taste the charm of its typical ruins!
Downwhill House was once a beautiful mansion. Built on the Northern Irish cliffs by architect Michael Shanahan, the building was so imposing that it would have cost over 80,000 pounds. A colossal figure for the time!
It must be said that the building was built to excess. Its floor area made it one of the largest mansions in Ulster. And its neo-classical style, with its imposing sculptures and frescoes have always divided the population, even to this day.
More than a manor house, it was above all a symbol of the power of Frederick Hervey. Known for his fortune, the latter was also a proven art lover.
So much so that the manor house had an incredible collection of works: Correggio, Dürer, Murillo, Rubens and Tintoretto… There, the greatest artists of the time were exhibited…
Unfortunately many of these works disappeared in 1851, during a terrible fire. A real tragedy at the time.
However, the mansion was rebuilt in the 1870’s… and finally fell into ruins just after the Second World War.
Nevertheless, the mansion has lost none of its beauty today. Its ruins even give it a tragic beauty: add to this the proximity of the ocean, and the charm of the cliffs… and you will have a beautiful glimpse of what awaits you!
This makes for a dilapidated manor house with a magnificent view, but very different from what it once was.
Now owned by the National Trust the site is accessible to visitors (you will have to pay a £5 entrance fee for parking).
The site is marked out with explanatory panels to better understand the history of the manor. You will discover not only the ruins of the house, but also a former dovecote, walled gardens, a belvedere, a summer house, and the sublime Mussenden Temple, which was a library belonging to the manor. Its location allows it to dominate Downhill Beach. A magical place, breathtaking!
Do not hesitate then to take a walk in the surroundings: the location on the cliffs is well worth a little stroll, and you will be happy, on a clear day, to take a good breath of fresh air!