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16 October 2014

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Benone Strand Toome to Mount Sandel Toome to Mount Sandel Banagher Dam
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Key Points

Welcome to this unique view of Benone Strand - seven miles of golden sand without a trace of rocks, shingle or even seaweed.

Until quite recently the remains of posts between which wires were strung, the aim being to prevent enemy gliders from landing during World War 2. From here you can enjoy stunning views of Donegal.

Perched on the top of a 120-foot cliff is Mussenden Temple, which was built by as a summer library by the Bishop of Derry in 1783. It was inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, near Rome. In the 200 years since, the coast has eroded by around 30 feet, and by 1996 the building was in danger of falling into the sea. Metal rods were inserted into the cliff to prevent further damage.

The bishop constructed the temple in honour of his married cousin. But the object of his affection, Frideswide Mussenden, died at the age of just 22, before it was completed. Underneath the building is a room that was used by Catholic priests to say mass.

The Bishop, carried out many other building works. He created three great houses, including the one at Downhill, close to the Temple.

Work here started in 1775 and the plan was to have a huge library, walls painted with frescoes, and a large collection of paintings hung in the corridors, including works by Van Dyke, Raphael and Tintoretto.

A fire in 1851 devastated the building, although many of the paintings were saved. The house was restored 20 years later and was used as billets for the RAF during the Second World War. It later fell into disrepair and as you can see, only the walls remain of this majestic home.

Benone Strand has seven miles of golden sand without a trace of rocks, shingle or even seaweed.

Perched on the top of a 120-foot cliff is Mussenden Temple, which was built as a summer library by the Bishop of Derry in 1783.

Built in 1775, Downhill Palace was used as billets for the RAF during the Second World War but later fell into disrepair.



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