Belfast Telegraph

'High do...' MLA Claire Sugden and beau get married in cliff-top ceremony

Claire Sugden and Andrew Anderson at Mussenden Temple on Saturday
Claire Sugden and Andrew Anderson at Mussenden Temple on Saturday
Guests wave the happy couple off for reception
Claire Sugden and Andrew Anderson at Mussenden Temple on Saturday
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

Politicians here are often accused of looking over a cliff-edge - but only one has got married on one.

FormerJustice Minister Claire Sugden may not have been able to sign off on any important policies at Stormont in almost two-and-a-half years, but she did sign an important legal document of her own on Saturday.

And the 32-year-old independent unionist MLA for East Londonderry stayed close to home for her wedding to Andy Anderson (36).

She chose the beautiful setting of Mussenden Temple near her native Castlerock on the north coast for the big day.

The historic National Trust property proved ideal for Claire, with close family and friends gathering for the service at the beauty spot.

And the happy couple made a dramatic exit afterwards, flying off by helicopter for a scenic tour of the coastline.

But not before indulging in a traditional seaside treat to celebrate, with an ice cream van on hand to keep guests cool in the sunshine.

Mussenden Temple, in Downhill Demesne, perches dramatically on a 120ft cliff top, high above the Atlantic.

It offered a spectacular setting for some dramatic wedding photographs for the newlyweds, with views westwards over Downhill Strand towards Magilligan Point and Co Donegal, and to the east to Castlerock beach towards Portstewart, Portrush and Fair Head.

Built as a summer library in 1785 by the eccentric Frederick Hervey, Bishop of Derry and Earl of Bristol, it was dedicated to his cousin Frideswide Mussenden, with whom he was said to be in love.

Unfortunately, she died at 22 before it was constructed.

The temple is available for civil wedding ceremonies from March through to September by arrangement with the National Trust.

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