CREEVAGHBAUN SWEAT HOUSE
The sweat house at Creevaghbaun consists of a diminutive, well-built structure that is known locally as a ‘teach allais’ (in Gaelic Irish) or the ‘sweat house’ and is probably the finest remaining examples in the country.
The origins of Irish sweat houses remains obscure but it appears they were used since at least the 18th century to relieve a number of ailments most notably rheumatism. They were typically simple structures, normally consisting of bee-hive shaped stone huts with corbelled roofs and small ‘creep’ entrances. Sods of turf were often added to the roofs for added insulation.
Before use a large fire was lit in the centre of the house and allowed to burn for several hours. When the temperature was deemed sufficiently high the fire was then removed and the person or persons crawled in and sat on rushes or straw. They then waited in the hot chamber until a sufficient amount of sweating had occurred.
After this they clambered out and plunged themselves into cold water. For this reason sweat houses were often located beside streams, lakes or artificial plunge pools/wells.
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