Downhill Castle was built by the eccentric Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol and Lord Bishop of Derry. The building of this massive structure began in 1772 which continued with the rear courtyards until the early 1790s.
Downhill Demesne, the Mussenden Temple, the grounds encompassing the temple, and its manor house (Downhill Castle) is now a National Trust property and is open to the public all year, from dawn to dusk. I would highly recommend a stop if ever in the area; the grounds and what it holds are beyond beautiful.
In the feudal system, a demesne was all the land which was retained by a lord of the manor for his own use and occupation or support, under his own management, as distinguished from land enfeoffed by him to others as sub-tenants.
The Demesne also includes a dovecote, walled gardens, a belvedere, or summer house, built for the Earl-Bishop’s daughter and a mausoleum dedicated to his brother George, 3rd Earl of Bristol, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Travel along with us as we get closer to the remarkable structures that the property contains.
Dan and I had already experienced so much and this, our third day, did not disappoint. We woke up early and drove to our next area on our must see attractions in Ireland. We parked the car and walked the road down to take in this beautiful site… The Giants Causeway. It was a beautiful morning and we had the area to ourselves. The rock formations and basalt columns in this area were formed over 60 million years ago by volcanic activity. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven or even eight sides and tallest columns are roughly 39 ft high. While I know the interlocking columns were formed as the result of ancient volcanic activity, but I prefer the story of legend.
The story goes that the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool), was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Fionn accepted the challenge and built the causeway across the North Channel so that the two giants could meet. Fionn hides from Benandonner when he realizes that his foe is much bigger than he is. Fionn’s wife, Oonagh, disguises Fionn as a baby and tucks him in a cradle. When Benandonner sees the size of the ‘baby’, he reckons that its father, Fionn, must be a giant among giants. He flees back to Scotland in fright, destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn would be unable to chase him down. Across the sea, there are identical basalt columns (a part of the same ancient lava flow) at Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish isle of Staffa.
We didn’t not have much time to explore as we needed to move on to our next location. We will definitely be back as there is so much more to see and hike. Some of the best-known sights include, but are not limited to, the Harp, the Organ, the Wishing Chair or Throne, the Chimney Stacks, and the Camel, who served as Finn McCool’s horse. Can you spot the Chimney in the background of some of the images?
After a nice supper, Dan and I headed back to meet Brian, our wonderful host, at Kilmail Country Chalet. Brain had offered to take us to an overlook to watch the sunset and we graciously accepted. We would have never experienced the wonder of this place without him. Our first stop was Downhill Beach. We proceeded to drive onto the beach and headed closer towards the Mussenden Temple where one could see the train coming from or going to Coleraine passing through the mountain tunnel.
Downhill Beach is used in the filming of Game of Thrones as Dragonstone, where the Seven Idols of Westeros were burned and Melisandre, as flames dancing into the night sky, proclaimed: “For the night is dark and full of terrors.”
From Downhill Strand, we traveled along a twisting road (The Bishops Road) to higher ground to take in the sunset. This location, Binevenagh Mountain, was very much off the beaten path and not on our itinerary. We were lucky to have Brian there who shared countless facts and history about these places. The mountain also holds another gem, a statue of a Celtic sea god, Manannan Mac Lir. In the tales, he is said to own a boat named Scuabtuinne (“wave sweeper”), a sea-borne chariot drawn by the horse Enbarr (“water foam”), a powerful sword named Fragarach (“the answerer”), and a cloak of invisibility (féth fíada). He is seen as the ruler and guardian of the Otherworld.
I will be introducing you to giants on our next stop! See you soon.
Our days were spent driving, hiking, and taking in the beauty that Ireland has to offer; we enjoyed every minute of the day. On our second day in this area, we drove the Causeway Coastal Route until it became late enough that we headed back towards our Bed and Breakfast. As mentioned in my previous […]
Dan and I had the opportunity to visit Ireland a few years ago and I am finally getting around to working on the numerous albums that were created during our visit. Revisiting these images (there are thousands of them) has been a treat but has made me miss Ireland even more 😉 What can I say about Ireland? It was a magical experience. The people were friendly, the lodging and hospitality was perfect and the beauty of this country is just stunning, absolutely stunning. I cannot wait for the day that we return as there is so much more for us to explore.
We stayed at this lovely bed and breakfast the first two nights we were in Ireland. The owners of this beautiful home (Kilmail Country Chalet) were wonderful hosts, the lodging was extremely comfortable, and the food was AMAZING! We chose this particular bed and breakfast because if their close vicinity to Giants Causeway and The Dark Hedges (The Kingsroad). We were lucky enough to visit the Dark Hedges twice during our stay. After a brief hail shower in the morning of the second day, we headed out to photograph this national treasure again. The comments noted below and the image of the delicious traditional Irish breakfast was taken from Dan’s blog:
The beech tree-line road is one of the most photographed natural landmarks on the island of Ireland. This tourist attraction recently achieved global prominence after it appeared on the hit HBO series Game of Thrones. In January 2016, Storm Gertrude damaged several of the 200+ year old trees. The site is still a vision to behold, but it is a fraction of what it once was; only 90 of the approximately 150 trees remain standing.
We had two opportunities to shoot this natural wonder. Our first view of this natural marvel was the morning of day 2 of our trip after a hearty traditional Irish breakfast while we waiting out a brief storm where a wee bit of hail fell. When we arrived at The Dark Hedges it was everything but dark. The sky was bright and full of clouds; the remnants of the earlier hail shower still lingering. The harsh sun cast deep and heavy shadows. You can easily see the gaps that Storm Gertrude made in some of these images,
The last stop of this Autumn trip to the MN North Shore was Grand Portage State Park. The Summer of 2014 was the first time I laid eyes on this natural beauty. I remember the thunderous noise as we walked down the path to view the tallest waterfall in Minnesota (120 foot drop). One side of the waterfall is located in Grand Portage State Park in Minnesota, the other side is located in Pigeon River Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. The hike is not bad on this one and I would highly recommend a stop any time of the year. An insert from a previous post, Continuous Creation on the High Falls of Pigeon River, “This morning’s mist was heavy which made every color of the landscape pop; a photographers dream. Low and behold, the High Falls of the Pigeon River in all its glory.” The colors are so vibrant, that I still have to remind myself this image is not taken in a Tropical Rain Forest. 🙂
Bringing us back to this trip and the colors of Autumn in Minnesota. The trip this day included some investigating as we took the road less traveled while looking for another waterfall on the Pigeon River. The majority of times these types of excursions do not end up in the way we were hoping; however, we always have a blast attempting to find what we set out to originally locate. As we turned to follow the low maintenance hiking path, we spotted a sign, “Caution”, it read. Caution? Bravery triumphed and we continued down the narrowing path. A mile or so down the path, we stumbled across what appeared to be the imprint of a very large mammal. Could this be a dinosaur left over from the Ice Age hiding in this remote part of the country?
Well, not a dinosaur in sight, all we really saw down this path was a whole lot of beauty as the seasons changed from Summer to Autumn. Enjoy the images from this trip!
Since we stayed in one of the 8 cabins they have on the property, we were lucky to have this rock formation right outside our front door. We spent the next few days capturing this magical landscape at different times of the day, but the sunrises were amazing! During the day, we took the time to explore the area and stumbled across many treasures all while producing wonderful memories (priceless).