A visit to the Spire of Lloyd is one of the more unique things to do in Meath.
Seen from miles around, it towers into the County Meath sky, casting its shadow over the landscape it silently watches.
But, what is it, and why was it built? What is the story behind the mysterious Spire of Lloyd, and why should you visit it?
In the guide below, you’ll discover everything from when the Spire of Lloyd is open to the story behind it.
Some quick need-to-know before you visit the Spire of Lloyd
Although a visit to the Tower of Lloyd is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Head west out of Kells, in County Meath, on the R163 through beautiful farmland towards the small burg of Lloyd. It’s less than a 5-minute drive from Kells, and you can’t miss your destination with the Spire of Lloyd and the People’s Park located at the end of the road.
Although a small and somewhat remote site to visit, there is ample parking on-site for approximately 20 cars (see here on Google Maps). It is also worth noting that the site is remote, and surfaces may be uneven or unsealed, so caution should be exercised when parking during or after heavy rainfall.
3. Getting inside
If the approach to this tower has your mind spinning, you’ll be pleased to know it is possible to go to the top! However, accessing the tower is restricted to bank holiday Mondays (public holidays) only. Visiting outside of these days will be limited to admiring the tower from the outside only.
The story behind the Tower of Lloyd
The Spire of Lloyd is a lighthouse… well, an inland lighthouse, that is. And, while lighthouses are usually used for safety purposes, the Spire of Lloyd served a slightly different means, as you’ll discover below.
In Irish mythology, the hill the Tower of Lloyd is built upon was known as ‘Mullach Aiti’ and it was used as a watchpoint towards the kingdoms of Bréifne (Cavan) and Midhe (Meath).
According to legend, this was the hill that Queen Maeve camped upon with her armies whilst en route to the Cattle Raid of Cooley battle (see our guide to the Táin Bó Cúailnge for more).
The Spire itself was built in the late 18th century, at the behest of the First Earl of Bective, Thomas Taylour. The construction of the tower was an initiative to provide work during a local famine.
It also didn’t hurt his reputation for wealth and power. The behemoth monument is 30 meters high, and can be seen for miles around; mainly as the tower can be lit up, making it Ireland’s only inland lighthouse.
But, what was it used for, you say?! Whilst the First Earl may have had good intentions, he also had grand ideas, and the Tower of Lloyd was designed to be a means to view local country-based activities.
From atop his lofty tower, the Earl was able to watch the hunt as it progressed across his lands, and later the races at Kells.
The upon which the Spire of Lloyd is built is also tied to Scottish history and independence. While Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce was leading his charge against the English, his younger brother, Edward Bruce, camped at Lloyd after the Battle of Kells in 1314.
Getting inside the Spire of Lloyd (note from the editor)
So, I’ve been struggling to find out when the Spire of Lloyd is likely to be open next, but it’s pretty unclear. On the Discover Boyne Valley Website, it says:
‘The spire is open to visitors on bank holiday Mondays (but this may vary), please contact the Kells Courthouse Tourism and Cultural Hub for more advice and information’.
So, I rang the number on the Discover Boyne Valley Website to see if they had more info, and was told that it:
- Hasn’t been open in the last year
- Is open by the local historical society when they have the resources to do so
- Isn’t clear when it’ll be open next
So, if you’re looking to visit the Spire of Lloyd, it sounds like you’ll be waiting. However, you can still visit and admire it from the outside, while soaking up the views from the hill.
Things see near the Spire of Lloyd
One of the beauties of the Spire of Lloyd is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Meath.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Spire of Lloyd (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Kells Round Tower (5-minute drive)
Founded in the first half of the first millennium, Kells was a monastic settlement started by Saint Columba. Later it became part of the Abbey of Kells and would be re-birthed again in the 9th century by monks from Iona. At 26 mtrs high, and with an usual number of doors, the Kells Round Tower is a true marvel.
2. Girley Bog Walk (10-minute drive)
Irish bogs are known for being rich areas of historical preservation, and also pretty impressive natural features. The Girley Bog is unique in that it is raised, and is also home to a large variety of birdlife, plants, and animals. Take in the wetland walk, and experience this rare habitat. This is one of our favourite walks in Meath for good reason.
3. Causey Farm (15-minute drive)
The Murtagh family have been intrinsically linked to County Meath for over a thousand years, with this farm being in the family for the last three hundred years. At Causey Farm, they breed livestock, offer team building, farm experiences, hen parties, and their award-winning Farmaphobia every October, are you among the bravest?
4. Loughcrew Cairns (20-minute drive)
Since 3000BC, the Loughcrew Cairns have stood as silent sentinels, watching over the world and its inhabitants. With burial cairns decorated in Neolithic art, the most stunning in Ireland, it’s a sight not to be missed, especially at an equinox for something spectacular.
FAQs about the Tower of Lloyd
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Why was the Spire of Lloyd built?’ to ‘When is it open?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Can you go inside the Spire of Lloyd?
Yes, but only on bank holiday Mondays and, as you’ll read above, not on all bank holiday Mondays.
Is the Spire of Lloyd worth visiting?
Yes! The views from the hill are worth the visit alone and you can head for a little ramble after having a nosey at the inland lighthouse.
Katherine is an food and travel writer with family-roots in Ireland. She enjoys hitting the road at every given opportunity, and can often be found with an atlas and notebook to hand planning the next big trip.