The Other Spire



Located on the summit of Carrick Wood, County Laois, this is Ireland’s other – and older – Spire. A circular folly crowned with an immensely tall stone conical roof, the date of its construction is uncertain. Writing in 1801, Sir Charles Coote proposed that the spire had been erected ‘to give employment to the poor in the year of the great frost’ (namely 1740-41). On the other hand, in 1814 William Shaw Mason wrote that it had been built ‘by the late Lord Viscount Carlow, grand-father of the present Earl of Portarlington’. Since the Carlow viscountcy was only created in 1776, this suggests a later period of construction. Another notion is that the building was originally a windmill, later converted into a folly. Restored in 2005, it remains in good condition although, alas, marred by the inevitable – and inevitably unimaginative – graffiti.