On a hillock rising above Lough Bane, County Westmeath stands this small circular building. When was it originally constructed, and for what purpose? Clearly the upper section has been lost but the space inside is still roofed. A series of windows, some large others more like rifle holes, run around the walls, and there are a couple of large openings to permit access, which invalidates the idea that it might have been intended for defensive purposes. The interior also contains the remains of a fireplace. The views from this spot are spectacular, and allow 360 degree panoramas for many miles, so it may have served as a lookout point. Any ideas?
Might it have been built as a Folly, perhaps on the Loughbawn estate? It would be a good spot to make a cup of tea and enjoy the views.
Is is a belvedere – a building especially constructed to take advantage of a view? These were also used as elaborate picnic spots or even just to shelter from the rain, which might explain the fireplace? They could be topped by wooden viewing platforms. Here is the belvedere on the Downhill demesne: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tomstravelscom/5848679504/
Sorry, bad typing, is IT a belvedere? And I could have added that these were sometimes built to look like forts, a trend I think taken from Renaissance painting, where often backgrounds might feature a romantic ruin on a dramatic hillside, heightening the sense of ‘the sublime,’ ie. man`s works dwarfed by majestic nature.
a windmill ? or a folly ?
Many good ideas have been offered. I would like to suggest a place for shepherds to take shelter against harsh elements while still keeping the flock in view. A shepherds’ folly, perhaps?
Contact Bartle D’arcy of bringing the wonders of Fore to life facebook page. Great local knowledge.