Spotting a rainbow at night is impossible, or is it? You won’t see a sun induced colourful arch at night, but what about something that is man-made……
The Spire of Lloyd is an inland lighthouse in Kells, County Meath. Yes you heard right, inland, the nearest coastline is approximately 45kms away. It stands tall on a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside and at night this tower is lit up for all to admire. I’ve often driven past this during the hours of darkness and longed to photograph its colourful splendor; however going out with my camera at night on my own is not the most sensible thing to do. So this weekend I had a friend staying with me who is also passionate about photography. We had been out and about with our cameras on Saturday afternoon and as we drove home the temptation to visit the Spire was too great.
It wasn’t until we arrived at the car park that we noticed the tower was changing colour. All these years I’d never even noticed that it was like a rainbow of light in the Meath landscape. Enjoy the colours.
The lighthouse was designed by Henry Aaron Barker for the first Earl of Bective in memory of his father Sir Thomas Taylor in 1791. The building of it was to provide local work during the time of famine.
It is 100ft tall and stands 428ft above sea level. Inside there is a 164 step spiral staircase leading to the top viewing section, where on a clear day it is said that you can see the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland.
There are rumours that it was used to view the local hunts and horse racing during the 19th Century, but there is no firm evidence that this actually happened.
During times of the Great Famine destitute people used to live on the hill around the tower. There are over a thousand victims buried in the a “Paupers Graveyard” in the park close to the tower.
Initially the British Government tried to help the Irish during this time, but the Undersecretary for the Treasury of England decided to cut assistance because he believed “The judgement of God sent this great calamity to teach the Irish a lesson”
The result of this decision was catastrophic and more than a million people died of starvation and disease. Over a million more emigrated predominantly to the UK, US and Canada, hence why a lot of people around the globe can trace their ancestry back to Ireland.
We decided to try a different angle. This time including the memorial cross for the famine victims, its inscription says “Erected to the memory of the poor interred here during the operation of the English poor war system 1838 – 1921 R.I.P”
Looking at the beauty of the tower all lit up with such vibrant colours, it’s hard to imagine the darkness and suffering that it would have been witness to in the past.
I believe that the top part is a viewing section, so it doesn’t light up like a traditional lighthouse.
If you are wanting to visit the spire, the inside is usually open to the everyone on public holidays when you can climb the steps to the top, but it’s worth checking their Facebook page to see if they are planning to open or not.