Sweat houses are one of the smaller field monuments surviving in the Irish landscape. The origins of sweathouses are unclear, but they function in the same manner as Scandinavian saunas. This project involved study of thirty sweathouses in County Leitrim to consider their significance, vulnerability, what repairs they might need, and how they could be interpreted and appreciated.
Straddling Sliabh an Iarainn in County Leitrim and scattered through the surrounding landscape are small almost invisible testaments to the past. Marked on old maps, and with most already lost, sweathouses, or “teach alluis”, are found from Rathlin Island off the north coast of Ireland to south Cork, with examples in Derry, Tyrone, Sligo, Longford, Louth, Roscommon, Galway, Tipperary, Waterford and Wicklow. However, the largest concentration of sweathouses are found in an area comprising modern Leitrim, Cavan and Fermanagh.
Sweathouses were used for the treatment for a wide range of ailments up to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, primarily rheumatism but also including sciatica, lameness, sore eyes, gout, skin disorders, psychiatric disorders, impotence and infertility. Surviving records indicate that treatment was Continue reading