The Spire of Llyod and Paupers Graveyard, Meath, Ireland

The Spire of Llyod is an enchanting and playful mock ‘lighthouse’ built in the midlands in 1791! The spire was built by the 1st Earl of Bective in memory of his father Sir Thomas Taylor, it was a folly project built during the time of a local famine when destitute locals camped on the hill. Beside the beautiful tower and in marked contrast to it lies the ‘Paupers Graveyard’. In this massgrave an unknown number of people were buried here during the famine of the 1840s. Walking around this graveyard and looking back towards the tower my emotions were mixed and hard to discern. On one hand here stands this beautiful tower built as a plaything for the earl to he could get a bird’s eye view of the local hunt and under my feet lay the bodies of so many of my ancestors who died under an incredibly unjust system. I felt somber as I walked back towards the tower but this should not detract from the magical nature of the structure itself. The spire only opens for tours a couple of times a month but fortunately for me on the day of my visit I arrived just as a caretaker of the spire was locking up, he kindly re-opened the tower and allowed me a quick visit up the 164 step spiral staircase for a magnificent view of the surrounding area, apparently the Mourne Mountains of County Down can be seen on a clear day.

The Spire itself stands on an ancient Iron Age ring fort but there is growing speculation that the site may date back as far as the bronze Age. The hill held a strategic importance throughout the ages and Queen Maebh was said to have camped here on her way to Cooley, Edward the Bruce also camped here after his victory at the Battle of Kells 1314.

GPS: 53.73325, -6.9055

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