Pictured here is the Spire of Lloyd standing at the top of the summit of the Commons of Lloyd outside the County Meath town of Kells.
This structure surprises many visitors to the area, not for the fact that it is a 100 foot high lighthouse, but for the fact that it is inland and stands about 45 kilometres from the nearest coastline at Drogheda, County Louth.
It was built as a folly by the first Earl of Bective in memory of his father Sir Thomas Taylor. Constructed in 1791, its designer was Henry Aaron Baker and it created work for the local population during a time of local famine. When built, it was used for viewing hunting and watching horse racing by the more wealthy in the area.
Inside the tower, a 164 step staircase leads to the top where magnificent views from the top of the 428 foot above sea level site allows visitors to see as far as the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland on a clear day. Sadly, the tower is rarely open and was not on the day I visited.
On the east side of the tower is the Headfort coat of arms with the family crest of “Consequitur quodquinque petit” (“He follows what he seeks")
The sense of whimsy brought to the viewer in this place is balanced by the sense of loss as this site is also a mass grave for victims of the great famine. The area around Kells was devastated by this hunger. In 1851 the site around the spire was officially established as a paupers graveyard, although victims had been buried here before this.
On the west side of the green, there was once a work house and a Famine road existed between it and the paupers graveyard, a horrific indicator to those living in the squalid conditions of what their future held.
By 1841 the population of Ireland had risen to over 8 million people, and over one third of those were landless laborers who already lived in desperate poverty. These people were almost entirely dependent on the potato to stay alive, which they grew on the tiny plots of land granted to them in exchange for back breaking labor.
Even though many crop failures had occurred over the years, 1845 saw the arrival in Ireland of Phytrophtora Infestans, a fungus which caused widespread crop failure across the country. The result of this crop failure was the Great Famine.
Initially, the British government did act to try to help the Irish in this time of tragedy, but the Undersecretary for the Treasury of England with Special Responsibility for Irish Famine Relief decided to cut assistance because he believed "The judgment of God sent this great calamity to teach the Irish a lesson".
The results of his decision were catastrophic. More than a million people died of starvation and disease and more than a million more emigrated to the UK, US, Canada and elsewhere. The despised workhouses overflowed with those souls seeking refuge from the devastation wrought upon them, and many of those trying to flee died on the journey in the horrid conditions of the Coffin Ships.
This particular site is the final resting place for well over a thousand people, though the final number is not known.
To mark this the parkland here (known today as the Peoples Park) also features a simple Celtic Cross, and a large rock inscribed with the words :
"In the immediate aftermath of the great famine, this mass burial place was opened in 1851 for the poor people of the Kells District. Their memory challenges us to end the scandal of hunger in todays world of plenty".
Situated as it is a few miles outside the town of Kells and at the top of a windswept hill, there is a sense of desolation and loneliness here as this place does not receive many visitors. It is easy to imagine the scenes of horror and grief that this green field bore witness to, and all in the shadow of the Tower of Lloyd; a folly of absolute wealth.
Ireland has never recovered from the effects of the great famine, and its population never again reached that of the 8 or so million before this event. Sometimes, it seems the great famine is part of the ancient history of this country, but it should be remembered that this nation changing event happened no more than a mere 165 years ago.
Thanks for looking.
Critiques | Translate
Gigidusud (13161) 2013-10-25 12:39
Hi Noel my neighbor tonight!
Amazing POV on the spire, nice contre plongée and splendid sky. Great light management also. Well done!
Kugart (1778) 2013-10-25 17:13
I loved the dramatic sky's of your two previous posts and this one here is great too. Your upward POV is perfect with the light source behind the tower casting a long shadow in the foreground . Nice balance between light and shade. Really good but sad note on the history of this place Noel .
Have a good weekend.
macjake (51418) 2013-10-25 18:17
I'm sure Lisa will have something funny to say about this one Noel! haha
Argh....too bad it wasn't open on this day, it would have been great to see some of the views from the top.
and i can see why its a bit strange seeing the lighthouse so far away from the coast.
and I've gotta say, the wispy kind of clouds here are my favorite.
Highmountains (2255) 2013-10-25 21:59
A "light house" for viewing hunting and horse racing !! The wealthy always find exceptional /eccentric ways of recreation..... a la Branson or Berlusconi ...
The lighthouse has been photographed alomst as a silhouette. The sky behind - especially the churning of the clouds has been a fantastic take.
Great documentation. Interesting history. There is so much similarity in the British ruling the colonies ...
Thanks for sharing. It has been a learning.
fabbs99 (15675) 2013-10-25 22:02
Lovely shot of the inland lighthouse .The tower has a great history.Nice colors and sharpness in this image.Very well presented.TFS.
snunney (78789) 2013-10-26 3:02
You have created a very atmospheric composition here with the column silhouetted against the backlit sky. The scene has an air of mystery to it and it is fitting that it was built as a folly with no other purpose than to entertain one's guests. Ideally exposed and with excellent sharpness.
Didi (54667) 2013-10-26 3:39
Interesting and nice backlights on the lighthouse
It's giving a dramatic ambiance
pajaran (47848) 2013-10-26 6:39
Dobar dan, popodne.
Interesantan i dobar tekst o svetioniku, sa datim podacima i istorijom ...
Lep pogled i trenutak sa svetlom koje je istaklo velicinu svetionika ...
Dobra kompozicija, lepo pokazan svetionik i trenutak.
Dobar trenutak snimka, kontrast, lepe boje.
Lepo popodne i sve najbolje za vikend, srecno.
Good afternoon, this afternoon.
Interesting and good article about the lighthouse, with the given data and history ...
Nice view and a moment with the light pointed out the size of the beacon ...
Good composition, beautiful lighthouse and was shown a moment.
A good time recording, contrast, beautiful colors.
Nice afternoon and all the best for the weekend, good luck.
ourania (25532) 2013-10-26 14:24
both picture and note are stunning, they complement each other in a striking way. The folly that dominates your composition is just a secondary topic in your very useful (and scary) note. I like very much the depth and the point of view in the shadow of this monument reminiscent of so contrasting circumstances. You've used the light in a creative way and rendered a moodiness that's overwhelming. The sky has filled the frame with drama and textures, the cloud at the top makes the tower look like a torch. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great Sunday,
nikkitta (12788) 2013-10-26 15:05
How very bad It was not open, Noel, must be quite a great view from this altitude, never see another lighthouse inland
Like a lot the way you manage the capture of the imposing spire taking the photo against the sun and creating a dramatic contrast
Warm regards, tfs
omid266 (3046) 2013-10-26 20:10
Hello Noel ,
An other nice pic. your shared us here ,
I really like , like this buildings , like Castles , Mosques , Churches , ..
Thanks for sharing ,
Good Luck like always !
Omid from I.R.I
krzychu30 (15260) 2013-10-27 2:20
Your trademark at its best!
Excellently composed picture.Just the beautiful lighthouse against so unique and amazing looking sky.It adds here really something magical to the overall mood of the scene.
Thanks for the interesting note-indeed,quite unusual to see a lighthouse so far from the sea.
Have a nice sunday my friend!
batalay (34575) 2013-10-30 7:26
I enjoy reading your notes as much as I enjoy viewing your photos. In this instance, the note is illuminating but very sad. The photo reveals excellent light management.
Apparently, "The Book of Kells," is physically linked to this area.
abmdsudi (38862) 2013-10-30 10:06
A strong back lighting shot in high contrast and full silhouette to get the sun behind it, i think you have certainly made the most of that sky with great highlights. It's quite minimalist but it does convey a mood of a very poignant story - profoundly moving....
Great work and many thanks to the factual lengthy notes. Congrats
photoray (9867) 2013-11-03 6:22
A fine memorial, sort of an Irish 'obelisk' to the Irish working class, for the dominating structure reaching heavenwards, contrasted with dynamic cloud patterns.
My Mother's parents were Irish immigrants who went westward in the 19th century to the opening of the Oklahoma Territory to settlement. But being in the "Promised Land" was not necessarily much easier. They were "share croppers", meaning the banks owned the land and they farmed it and had to pay a portion of all produce and livestock to the banks.
Not until WWII, did they break this capital stranglehold by moving farther west to the war factories in Los Angeles.
Hope your weekend has been productive and rewarding,
PS: The black cat is a whim, add on to the mini golf course.
- Copyright: Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) (20105)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2013-10-25
- Categories: Daily Life, Ceremony, Architecture, Artwork, Event, Decisive Moment
- Camera: Canon EOS 60D
- Exposure: f/14.0, 1/250 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2013-10-25 11:15