Spire of Lloyd
This inland lighthouse was designed by Henry Aaron Baker (designer of the King’s Inn, Dublin) for the First Earl of Bective in memory of his father Sir Thomas Taylor in 1791 and provide work during the time of a local famine.
The plaque reads: ‘This pillar was designed by Henry Aaron Baker Esq. architect was executed by Mr. Joseph Beck stone cutter Mr. Owen Mc Cabe head mason Mr. Bartle Reilly overseer Anno 1791′.
At 30m (100ft) high, on the summit of the Commons of Lloyd, from 428 ft above sea level one can see magnificent views of the surrounding countryside as far as the Mourne Mountains in County Down, Northern Ireland on a clear day.
The Spire is said to have been used to view horse racing and the hunt in the 19th century.
Inside there is a 164-step spiral staircase, with a central protective cage.
The plaque on the east side of the Spire carries the Headfort Coat of Arms with the family crest – “Consequitur quodquinque petit” (“He follows what he seeks”).
The spire stands on the site of an Iron Age ring fort but evidence is mounting to show that the site dates further back to the Bronze Age.
The hill was known as Mullach Aiti, which graduates to Mulloyde and to the current day Lloyd. The Hillfort guarded the approaches from the Kingdom of Bréifne (Cavan) to the ancient Kingdom of Midhe (Meath).
The legendary Queen Maeve (Medbh) was said to camp here with her armies on her way to steal Ulster’s prize stud bull in the story of Táin Bó Cúailnge ("The Cattle Raid of Cooley").
Edward The Bruce also camped here following his victory at the Battle of Kells in 1314.
During the times of the Great Famine, destitute people lived on the hill.
The community park (The People’s Park) includes the “Paupers Graveyard”, in which many victims of the mid-19th century famine lie buried.
On visiting the Spire – one can also take the Ringfort & Blackwater River Looped Walk.
Heritage Trail: The Old Courthouse | Market Cross | St. John’s Cemetary | Kells Town Hall | Parnell Garden | Oliver Usher’s Auction Rooms | Monastic Site | St. Columcille’s House | Churchyard Wall | Bective Square | Presbyterian Church | St. Columcille’s Well | Spire of Lloyd | Kells Victorian Waterworks | Headfort House & Bridge | Contact a Tour Guide