On the outskirts of the town of Kells in County Meath and clearly visible when approaching from the north stands the 'Spire of Loyd'. The tower is roughly 100 feet high and has a lantern round the top, in the manner of a lighthouse. It was built in the late 18th century by the lst Earl of Bective.
Why such a thing exists is not so clear. There are those who say that the tower was built so that the Headfort family could sit in it and watch various country pursuits taking place. Others say it was built to provide employment at a time of economic hardship or is no more than a folly. Despite the disputes about its purpose, it makes an impressive landmark.
Nearby is the site of the Paupers' Grave. This cemetery was a necessity in the times of great poverty in the country. Mass is still celebrated there annually and the cemetery is a grim reminder of the workhouse and the extreme poverty which was engendered by changes in farming practice in the 19th century and also of the Famine.
Happily the land now finds a more cheerful use. The area round the tower has been developed as a community park, The People's Park. There are good facilities for children to play, a ring fort walk and picnics tables.